Case study: how Green Angels helped Gawain

7th August 2018

As part of the Land Trust’s new education strategy, we aim to continue and grow the Green Angels training scheme. It has been an important part of many participants’ lives, and some recent participants have been sharing their stories.

The Green Angels training scheme was started in 2013 and has since given many people the opportunity to gain skills and qualifications that are focused on the environment. The free, six week course covers subjects such as countryside management, landscaping, environmental education and horticulture. They combine learning with a hands-on, practical experience and have provided many participants with the skills, confidence and encouragement to continue their personal development.

Green Angels courses have so far run in Warrington and South Yorkshire and have been hailed a great success, with many people going on to secure employment after receiving Green Angels training. We recently spoke to some trainees after completing courses in Warrington, who told us about what a difference Green Angels has made for them.

Meet Gawain:                                                          

Gawain is one of Warrington’s younger volunteers, being in his early twenties. He attended the Environmental Education course and now volunteers regularly with the Green Angels. He first heard about the course through his mum, who had seen it whilst looking for volunteering opportunities to suit him.

“I was looking for volunteering because I’m not in work. I’ve been diagnosed with autism so at the moment it makes it harder to get a job for the long-term, so volunteering is what I’m looking at, particularly outdoors.

“I’m not very good at being sat inside or on the computer, so I was fairly confident it had to be something outdoors. Green Angels was the first and only one I could find in the area. It was what I was looking for, and as far as I could tell, it was the only one I could actually get to.”

What have you learnt and achieved from the Environmental Education course?

“For me, it’s been more of a personal thing because I’ve not been going out whatsoever. So it’s helped me to get out of that social anxiety state of staying in and saying no. It’s got me more positive and open to opportunities now.”

How would you like to make the most out of these skills?

“I’m quite happy to continue with Green Angels to start with. Most of all, I think that’s the sort of work I want to get into, whether it’s just me getting on with something outdoors or helping others, younger adults or whatever in a more outdoor situation.”

“I’ve been told about Forrest Schools, which sounds great to me. I would’ve appreciated that when I was younger!”

What encourages you to keep volunteering with Green Angels?

“Well firstly, like I said, it is a subject that I can see myself getting benefits from in the future, and secondly it’s just something that I enjoy. It’s what I like to do.”

“Carolynn (who leads the courses) is ace. She’s very easy to talk to and very understanding. Also, it seems that the people who stick around on the course are like-minded people and it makes a difference.

“I’ve never been one to gel with the authoritative figure in a group but it’s nothing like that with Carolynn. If something needs to be done then she’ll say, but there’s no nastiness and everything she does is for a good reason.”

Should more young people like you get involved?

“Yes, definitely!”

“I definitely think people of my generation would both enjoy it and benefit from it. Also, it’s good to get out – sunlight is great, all the serotonin. Sitting inside just leads to depression for me.”

“Unfortunately I did choose alcohol and cannabis for a long time, but once I gave that up, it was going outside that helped. It helps me to relax.”

For more information on how you could get involved with Green Angels, visit our training page.

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