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Ⓜ.Ⓤ.Ⓓ Volunteer 

About the group… 
 
ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ is a drop-in group for Lewisham-borough-based 18-25-year-olds wanting to commune with the natural world. We work with the plants, soil, humans, and non-humans around us to find community and wellbeing in the city.  

Group members can attend weekly if they fancy, or join us once a month – whatever works best for their schedule. 

In a typical session, we might be: sowing seeds and tending to food crops, naturally dyeing fabrics and sewing, learning to bind books, exposing cyanotypes, foraging on our land or neighbouring green spaces, arranging flowers, screening films, cooking etc… 

These ideas are all co-designed amongst the group. 

Group members stay with us until their schedules change (or they reach the age of 26). 

We also do offsite trips and collaborate with institutes like TATE galleries, Garden Museum, London Wildlife Trust, and the RHS. 

You can see more of what we get up to on our Instagram, here
 
On volunteering… 
 
A ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ volunteer is aged 18-30, interested in plants, nature, artmaking, and community-building, and free on Wednesday afternoons (13:30-15:30) or evenings (18:00-20:00). 

You don’t need to have any specific experience, just a desire to get involved with co-designed horticultural and creative projects. 

Our volunteers can bring their skills and passions to the group – currently some cook the evening meal, others design and facilitate sessions, and a few assist with set-up and pack-down of sessions. 

ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ is a curious and supportive environment, so a willingness to practice different forms of communication and acceptance of neurodivergence, disability, and a wide-range of mental health journeys is a must. 

This role is subject to an Enhanced DBS check, as you’ll be involved in working with adults at risk.  

Example session volunteering with us… 

  • Arrive 15-30 minutes before session begins. Our ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ facilitator will let you know what we’ll be getting up to that session and you can decide how you would like to assist with the set-up and delivery. You can also ask what needs to be done and choose from the facilitator’s options, or others suggestions. 
  • As you set up, other ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ members may arrive. You can greet them and chat or get them involved with whatever you’re doing. They may have an idea of what they want to do already (gaze into the pond, walk around the garden, take a look at what we made last week etc…). 
  • Once the session gets going, you may have already decided how you’ll be involved with delivery. That could be you facilitating the session that you’ve designed with our ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ facilitator, replenishing materials, getting tea break/dinner ready, or just getting involved with the activity like everyone else.  
  • Perhaps someone in the group likes to experience multiple activities at once – you can decide to support them in whatever tangent they’re eager to explore in the garden (say, picking flowers for the group), or you can check in with everyone else if they’d like to join in with this side quest. We usually have an idea of how a session will look, but we like to practice looseness, and following other’s intuitions.  
  • As the session closes, you’ll notice that some ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ members instinctively pack up, and others will keep going with whatever we’re doing. If you have a specific role that you enjoy (washer-upper, cabinet organiser, checking-in-with-group-er), you can get on with those.  You can always ask for a job if you’re at a loss, or you can rest.  
  • If there’s been a strong energy floating around the session, volunteers meet with the ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ facilitator at the end – chatting over residual feelings that may come with new and/or intense experiences. Often though, these moments are explored in sessions with the whole group – we practice direct communication and try to be sensitive to everyone’s methods of expressing themselves.  

So, you will need to be…  

    • Available on Wednesday afternoons and/or evenings 
    • Interested (at least) in nature and/or art
    • Interested in bringing your nature-based or creative skills/passions to the group  
    • Hopeful and invested in community-building 
    • Willing to switch between structured and looser session plans (if structure feels essential to you, we can talk this through) 
    • Willing to practice a range of communication styles (both verbal, and non-verbal, louder and softer, faster and wider paced etc….) 
    • Willing to co-design and co-learn with other group members, volunteers, and staff 
    • Willing/able to work on asserting your boundaries and capacity with us 
    • Open to consistent feedback and a hand in shaping the group dynamic alongside it’s members 
    • Able to commit to regular volunteering (weekly), although this can be discussed if unrealistic for your circumstances 
    • Available for a few training sessions throughout the year 

Location 

Sydenham Garden Resource Centre, 28a Wynell Road, London SE23 2LW and/or Sydenham Garden De Frene Market Garden, 35a De Frene Road, London SE26 4AB

Contact 

Lauren Goddard, ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ Facilitator.

email: lauren@sydenhamgarden.org.uk

How to apply:
Is this the role for you? Complete our online Application and Equality & Diversity Monitoring form.

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