The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)

John Preston tells us a bit about The Conservation Volunteers in Leeds.

What is the background to your organisation?
We are the local office of a national charity The Conservation Volunteers. The services at Hollybush have developed since 1979, moving gradually towards a more inclusive approach.

We effectively include people with a big range of disabilities and additional needs, we do not specialise in any ‘target’ group, but work closely with specialist agencies in receiving referrals and help people to access appropriate ongoing or crisis support.

What services do you provide / which projects do you deliver?

  • Full day practical projects
  • Part day gardening projects
  • 4 and 6 week introductory course (one day per week)
  • Admin and volunteer support roles
  • Level 1 and level 2 diplomas
  • Long term day care places

Our work encompasses school vegetable gardens, pocket parks in the city to the Pennine Moors, food growing, cookery, craft, wood work.

Who is on the team? (staff and volunteers)
We have voluntary staff and key volunteers who are a fundamental part of the delivery, many of who started as service users.

Hollybush Project, Learning Disability | Gill Fallas, Emma Peckitt and Caroline Aylward

Practical Team | Phil Reddell, Dougie Watson, Andy Tiffany and Craig Spencer (diploma tutor)

Volunteer Coordinator | Jess Kandola

Garden Project Officers | Sulafa Abushal and Sarah Learoyd

Administrator | Sarah Learoyd

West Yorkshire Manager | John Preston

Plus around 15-20 voluntary staff and key volunteers at any one time.

What is the best thing about your job?
Making connections with other professionals that result in joint working between The Conservation Volunteers and other agencies that result in us being better able to deliver services. With the outcome that more people will have meaningful activity to look forward to, which on occasion literally ‘saves lives’.

What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Making sure all the plates are kept spinning! Keeping lists updated so I don’t fail to do something I promised to do…

If you had a super-power what would it be and why?
The power to have a society with a better work life balance, that gave everyone the chance to earn the money for the essentials of water, food and shelter plus enough for a social life and a society that had the time to be a community on a neighbourhood level to give everyone the scope to have a circle of friends and acquaintances.

If you could give someone you know an award, who would it be and why would they deserve it?
Jess our volunteer co-ordinator for somehow holding it all together and responding to individual crises.


October 2012