Growing With The Garden: Volunteer’s Experience with the Cyrenian Community Garden
Recent Scottish Household Survey (2017) revealed that 28% of adults (over 1.26 million people) volunteered formally, contributing 157 million hours of help worth £2.26 billion to the local economy and up to 17% of the volunteers are helping out at local communities such as community gardens (The National Council for Voluntary Organizations 2018). Therapeutic benefits of gardening and motivations and benefits of volunteering have been widely researched on. However the preceding literature review highlights a lack of research studies on the experiences of volunteering in a community garden. A generic qualitative study was therefore conducted in partnership with the Cyrenian Community Garden to explore the experience of general volunteers- volunteers who are not involved in any specialized roles, for example, trainer or volunteers working with patients. Six volunteers participated in the focus group discussion conducted and results from the study was analysed. Theme that emerged were: (1)Perceived enabler – “How I got involved”; (2) perceived barriers – personal and organizational reasons; (3) perceived benefits - “what I got from volunteering”: emotional, social, physical and community benefits. Given the multiple benefits of volunteering which fulfils the needs of individual and the community, it proves to be a promising community initiative.