My name is Marta, a 34 year old of Spanish nationality. A year and a half ago I moved to the UK, a life changing decision to make. I decided to look for a hobby, something that kept my mind busy, providing a feeling of happiness.

I contacted the Now! Charity Group as I had seen a gardening workshop on the website. I began attending my first workshop as a volunteer where I met Ray, a professional gardener delivering the workshops. Ray has since taught me all I know about gardening and horticulture, He himself is a great gardener who is willing to share his vast knowledge with us. As well as being an exceptional tutor, he is also a very good man, kind and honest, patient and good listener who cares about others.

Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to meet new people and improve my English. The social impact experienced has been incredible, through the friendships created not only do we speak about gardening but we are invested personally, sharing our hopes and fears in relation to the future in our lives.

After one year of work, we have our allotment full of a variety of fruit and vegetables, our allotment is beautiful and it is so rewarding to eat your own fruits and vegetables after all the work done.

Ray has taught me that the most important thing when doing something is to enjoy!

‘’When you enjoy something it is not hard work, it is simply about happiness and keeping your mind one step ahead thinking about what new discoveries you will make tomorrow.’’ 

After this fantastic experience I now own my very own plot. I feel stronger and more determined than ever, this new project keeps me motivated, focused and happy.

Since I enrolling as a Community Champion at the Now! Charity, I feel more confident and calmer in life. Feeling better has also helped me decide to continue my studies and explore a qualification in languages. I have now started my master´s degree in Translation at the university, securing a great score in my first module (something that really scared me since I am a non-native English speaker). Next year I will continue my studies, and of course I will also continue attending the gardening workshop with Ray, Sandra, Ann, David, Mark…and I hope that many people more come.

I cannot thank Ray and the Now! Charity enough for this great experience, it has changed my life completely.

I hope my story help others who feel alone to bring hope and that you to can change your life, bit by bit, as I did.