Educate, Nurture, Grow And Guard our Environment
ENGAGE is not, strictly speaking, a training course or educational programme as its aim is for the VWKG to be utilised as a facility by organisations and institutions for running personal enrichment and community service programmes, thereby encouraging awareness of, and involvement in, community support and volunteering projects.
The ENGAGE Programme has been used by the island’s secondary schools (sixth forms), the College of Further Education and the Probation Service. The level of involvement ranges from providing a youthful labour force who support GBT volunteers with the preparation and upkeep of the plots; working on projects linked to course work and to more advanced projects, such building and maintenance, that require specific skills.
The probation Service have used the VWKG extensively over recent years for its Community Service and rehabilitation of offenders programmes. For obvious reasons the oversight and supervision is conducted by the Probation Services staff rather than the GBT volunteers; however, the benefits are reciprocal. The charity gains by having a team of people who are able to complete a significant amount of work and the individuals who are undertaking their community service are introduced to a charity running a community focused project that they may not have previously been aware of.
GBT is extremely grateful for the amount of work being completed by all these groups. By its very nature the gardens are ever-changing and there are always tasks to be completed. A group of people will be able to complete such tasks much more quickly and with far greater visual impact, than an individual volunteer working on their own.
GBT recognises the benefit it gains from such engagements, but the feedback received from those participating in these projects is equally positive. Some bring their own skills and initiative to the work, for others gardening is a new experience, but ultimately such activity can help individuals to improve or gain new skills, build confidence and raise self-esteem, all of which are positive steps in building a strong and caring community.