CFINE-Community Food Initiatives North East Support for Learning Volunteers: Gardening Skills Courses

We’re the Community Growing team at CFINE! We work together with existing community gardens across Aberdeen to help them do more, and we work with volunteers and others to provide opportunities for training, personal development, and improvement of wellbeing. Our work consists of creating and supporting city-wide community growing activities, including amongst other things: seminars and networking opportunities; running workshops and activities programmes with people of all abilities and ages; bringing gardening together with the arts through community-based creative projects; and…

Running our gardening skills courses!

At this point in time, our team works to run three different kinds of gardening courses: the CFINE “Growing Employability Skills” course; the “Growing For Wellbeing” course, in collaboration with MindStore; and the “Grow Food Indoors” course, in collaboration with One Seed Forward.

Of these, we will be having further runs of Growing Employability Skills and Growing For Wellbeing courses throughout the rest of 2024. Both are based on a similar programme, covering four main learning areas: promoting biodiversity; composting and soil health; plant care, and; propagation. And – while wellbeing is always a priority on all of our courses – special attention is paid to this in our Growing For Wellbeing courses, which also include additional activities for developing and practising mindfulness within the sessions.

This year will be the third consecutive year that we’ve been running our gardening courses, and our programme is diversifying and expanding all the time. So far, we’ve helped a total of 65 participants to complete our courses across 8 cohorts. Our hope is that by running these courses, we’ll reach out to new people, help them to develop their skills, and support them to improve their wellbeing, while at the same time also working to build up a bigger and bigger volunteer base for Aberdeen’s community growing projects.

Our Support For Learning volunteers work together with course tutors during the sessions to: prep and for the sessions and pack down afterwards; supporting course participants to carry out activities; supporting course participants with paperwork and writing where appropriate, and; sometimes some additional tasks (e.g. collecting refreshments for the sessions) are helpful as well.

Volunteers are also able to fully participate in the courses alongside other attendees, and so gain all the benefits of our courses — getting outside and meeting new people, visiting and learning more about Aberdeen’s community garden spaces, and getting to practice gardening skills together with the rest of the group.

No prior training required for the position. Volunteers will receive training in gardening skills alongside fulfilling their learning support role. The volunteer will be working together with a course tutor at all times, and the community growing team will be available for additional support where required.

A fantastic opportunity to help at wonderful community gardens in Aberdeen. All help makes a real difference and is greatly appreciated.

For further details please contact Lucy Edwards, Community Growing Assistant at email: ledwards@cfine.org or telephone: 01224 596156.