The Trust for Conservation Volunteers (TCV) in Leeds works to enhance habitats but like a number of TCV groups they also enhance the well being of people. A number of the staff have a background in the health profession and people are referred to them for therapeutic reasons. I’d come accross the Green Gym idea years ago at TCV where participants keep fit by doing practical work, however in Leeds it goes much further. Due to the interests and care of the staff, they are supporting people with serious health problems who are referred by health and social workers. The success stories are many but include literally saving people from ending their lives. The huge society benefit and social care that this group is providing is hidden underneath the label of ‘environmental conservation’. The health of our environment and ourselves are intricately linked. To have a habitable planet we must also pursue social justice. To have social justice we must protect the life around us. The lines blur everywhere I look as it does not make sense to divide and separate our aims. We want a healthy future, for all of us. My gratitude and respect go out to all the wonderful people working so hard to bring it about.
The diploma is an incredible way to help people turn their lives around and is free to people who are unemployed and over 19. It’s one more way that people have found to retrain, to change their lives and to follow their heart.