My time on the course was quite literally life changing. I completed level two of the Environmental Conservation Diploma in 2015.
Prior to starting the diploma, I had been struggling with depression and anxiety since recovering from alcoholism a few years previously.
My mental health began to improve very quickly.
Becoming part of a group and meeting others who had experienced similar challenges in their lives really helped me to realise that I wasn’t alone and that it was possible to move.
I had always had a love of nature and a passion for conservation so being involved with an organisation, surrounded by like minded people who were making a real difference in the local community was a very positive turning point in my recovery.
I began to form friendships, my self esteem and physical fitness improved. I no longer felt socially isolated. I felt I was being productive and that I was valued. I began to feel more connected to the earth and even found my spiritual path in life.
I have lots of fond memories of the Diploma Course. Every day was fun and enjoyable, yet never the same. I remember a classroom day when a fellow student arrived late. Rushing in to sit down, she apologised and explained that she’d had to stop en route to deliver emergency Reiki to a passing Collie dog.
I remember trudging through snow covered fields to repair river banks, thinking to myself that I couldn’t have ever imagined doing this a few months previously let alone actually find myself enjoying it!
I still visit Hollybush regularly. I have done various short courses since completing the diploma and, at times, helped out in the cafe and admin office.
Life can get very busy but whenever I can, I will arrange to meet a friend at Hollybush for a coffee in the cafe or take my Grandchildren to an event. It is also a place where I can pop in anytime and be guaranteed to see a friendly face and have a chat.
I very quickly came to love Hollybush for everything it represents, the wonderful people involved there and the unfogetable experiences it gave me. It allowed me to challenge myself and change for the better in a positive, safe environment.