7th June 2019
We spoke to Mike Little, a dedicated volunteer at Knowle Haven and current holder of the Land Trust’s volunteer of the year award, and asked him some questions about his experience with volunteering at Knowle Haven.
1. How long have you been volunteering at Knowle Haven?
I was the first volunteer at Knowle Haven. Victoria Weddon visited Knowle Haven in early 2016 and asked the few residents who turned out to the meeting ‘what they would like the field to be used for?’ It was august before anything really happened. Travellers invaded the field and they eventually left in late July, I happened to bump into Victoria in the lane and there and then we planned a clear up of the field to remove the tonnes of rubbish left by the travellers. Arrangements were made for a skip and I dragged a few locals in to help.
2. What is something we would not know about you?
Something you would not know about me… well if I told you I would have to kill you… Seriously – my blood type is B positive. That is how I live my life now.
3. What would you say was the best part about volunteering at Knowle Haven?
I could not actually say ‘there is a best part’, it is all awesome. As the project progressed, it was a fantastic feeling to think I had been part of it, now we have so many users of all ages and abilities and knowing this project is an important part of their lives. Being part of this, making just a small difference in people’s lives and being closer to nature. As I said, it is all awesome.
4. How would you say that volunteering has helped you develop as a person?
Personally, I have grown with the Haven; I had never undertaken anything like this. The trust given by the Land Trust to what essentially is a complete stranger, to develop a community space. It has allowed my confidence to boost; I have developed new skills and find myself physically and mentally stronger.
5. Tell us about a funny memory from whilst you have been volunteering at Knowle Haven.
I have a dry sense of humour. Funny moments at the Haven are numerous. The one that instantly comes to mind and when I think of it, I have a chuckle. After the travellers had vacated, a few friends came down and helped clear up. Being in the holidays, we had our children with us and made a day of it, BBQ and everything. A few of the kids, around 9 years old, had gone off to explore, they came running back screaming… “SNAKE!” We ambled over and they pointed to a slow worm. The slow worm is pictured on our FB page, the first wildlife photo we took at Knowle Haven.
6. How would you say that volunteering makes a difference to the community?
Until a few years ago I was working long hours in a job I enjoyed, I did not know anyone who volunteered for anything. Now I am surround by people who volunteer. They are amazing people making a huge difference to so many people. At Knowle Haven, we have several groups using the facility that totally rely on volunteers. Volunteers provide education, fun and opportunities that people would not normally have access too. They enrich people’s lives. Every volunteer, no matter if it is marshalling a car park at a fete or giving up time to visit or run organised activities, events or facilities are worth their weight in gold. Our community at Knowle Haven relies on a few to bring joy to many.
7. What is the most challenging part about volunteering at Knowle Haven?
The most challenging part about volunteering at Knowle Haven is actually locking the gate and going home. I would spend all day every day there.
8. What would you say to anyone wanting to volunteer?
I would encourage anyone to volunteer, even if it is for an hour a week, the reward is priceless.
9. Lastly, Tea or Coffee?
Either, white two sugars.
It's wonderful to look straight over the park and to get straight in and walk the dog. It's brilliant - I love it to bits!
Sock Armstrong, Warren House Park
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