Love Where You Live volunteers #LoveParks
In recognition of #LoveParks week, we wanted to give you the opportunity to hear from a volunteer who is part of one of the parks and green spaces initiatives happening within the Cities of Service authorities.
Alison Sidebottom lives in Worsborough Dale in Yorkshire where she works as Staff Nurse at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, looking after patients post Heart and Lung Surgery. In her free time, she helps to make the most of her local green spaces by volunteering through the Worsborough Green Fingered Wanders, which she founded with the support of the Love Where You Live campaign - part of the Barnsley portfolio of volunteer opportunities. As a dog walker, Alison could see her local community looking untidy, overgrown and littered and she wanted to get it clean. Alison tells us about being part of the Worsborough Wanderers.
I understand that budget restrictions mean cutbacks and the Council can no longer provide the level of maintenance they once did. I feel this is something that communities can work together to try and tackle. I want to live in a clean and tidy environment and I know you’ve got to be prepared to do something if you want change. I take real pride in my community and I want to inspire others to do the same.
I have been volunteering for a number of years carrying out environmental improvements on the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) a route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders near to where I live.
However, I often worked alone and unsupported. It was frustrating at times and I was starting to become slightly disheartened that I didn’t have the help I needed.
The Love Where You Live Campaign has been great for me. It has raised awareness of my work and helped me to develop a group and get more volunteers on board. I now feel supported and it’s great knowing that there are other people in the Borough that also want to make a difference, all working as part of the initiative.
Since becoming involved, I’ve had some really positive experiences of more people getting involved and helping out with my project and having the opportunity to get involved with other Love Where You Live projects. My local area is now beginning to look better and I have lots of lovely comments from people about the work the group are doing.
There have been a few negatives such as people continuing to litter and some vandalism, however, these are outweighed by all of the positive feedback that has come from the work we have been doing.
The local community has really supported the project, many of them now getting involved and volunteering with the group when they can, some on a weekly basis. Together we’ve learnt new skills, such as fence weaving.
“This project has given the community its pride back.”
The sense of satisfaction and achievement makes me want to continue to volunteer as well as the fact I want to live in a lovely place and be able to enjoy it.