Case study: how Green Angels helped Jon and Tim

9th 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 Jon:

Jon is retired and involved with a friends group who look after council-owned green space in Warrington. He has been a committed and enthusiastic member of the group and gained valuable experience, which he has taken to his volunteering work outside of the Green Angels courses.

“I have recently retired and wanted to do something different and somewhere where I could learn on the job. I have always enjoyed the great outdoors and having the opportunity to be out in the fresh air learning on the job was too good an opportunity to miss.”

With a wealth of experience through volunteering at your local parks, do you feel you learnt new skills from the project?

“Yes, I have learnt about wild flowers, bird surveys, dead wood fences and the different types of woods that exist.  Finding out about such subjects has increased my knowledge and given me an appetite to learn more. Learning how to use a two stroke strimmer has also given me a qualification which is useful for my role.”

What would you say is your favourite part of volunteering?

“The companionship of like-minded people. I also particularly enjoy teaching and educating young people about nature.”

Jon is just one of the many people who enjoyed engaging with the other Green Angels volunteers. Our final story comes from someone who has committed themselves to the course and continued to use the skills afterwards by starting up their own business.

Meet Tim:

Tim, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, had been advised that he couldn’t work after being diagnosed with Asperger’s and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, following the advice that volunteering could help him to engage with others, he joined the course in 2017.

He went on to attend every session and was a valued part of the group. Upon finishing, he continued with his volunteering work, both with Green Angels and other environmental organisations.

“Carolyn, who runs the project, is very encouraging! She’s very knowledgeable, very warm and a very nice person.

“I would encourage others to do it. It’s very good.”

How do you think this has helped you?

“Because of my Asperger’s I’ve been a bit isolated, so it got me out a bit. But now I’m trying to work for myself. I’ve got my own business.”

“It’s slow to start, but I’m hoping to get busier. It’s garden maintenance, especially weed killing and pressure washing. I’m also now a qualified horticulturist.

“I was also volunteering with the Wildlife Trust after Green Angels making better places for birds to live.”

He hopes to continue to grow his business in the future, which many Green Angels volunteers go on to do. Having the qualifications has been vital in the start-up process, and many people who go on to start work as a result of their Green Angels training continue full-time.

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

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