My TCV story began in January 1999 when I turned up, in a suit, for an interview for a Voluntary Officer post in the Kings Cross office in London. On reflection, I was probably very over-dressed, but it seemed to impress the interviewer and I got the post. I spent the next 8 months helping to deliver practical midweek tasks from the London office. We would run 4 days of practical mid-week, tasks and there were weekend tasks as well. I have very fond memories of working on loads of sites around London – hidden gems like Gunnersbury Triangle, Tower Hamlets cemetery and Wimbledon Common. A stand-out memory was the huge fencing contract we had on Rainham Marshes which occupied the group on a regular basis throughout the late 1990s. It resulted in me leading a task on the marsh on 11th August 1999 during the solar eclipse which I’ll never forget.
Following a few years away from TCV employed by a local authority I became a paid employee for TCV in January 2003. Running Green Gyms and supporting local community groups through a small funding scheme called People’s Places. Being a local project officer, I had to be adaptable to changes and before long my role had changed – taking on midweek practical projects, conservation skills training and conservation holidays. I have loads of lovely memories watching our work impact the lonely, people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, young people struggling with full-time education and those suffering from mental and physical ill-health.
It was the combination of practical conservation work and improving people’s well-being that I loved. However, somehow I blinked and in 2009 found myself supporting TCVs work by joining the Health & Safety team on a part-time basis. My day to day job changed dramatically over the subsequent years and eventually, I was made full-time within the H&S team. My job is fulfilling in different ways but it’s the people who work for TCV and the impact TCV has in the communities, lives and spaces around the UK which keeps me hooked!