“I think most of the anxiety about coming here to LandWorks was based on not knowing what I was going to do. I didn’t know how things worked, where stuff was or who anybody was. More than the fear of Chris or the place itself, it was more the routine and tasks…
It felt like a place that definitely belonged in Dartington. I mean it’s very quiet here. It’s very … I don’t know how to put it … organic, tending the land and woodwork, rather than like industrial, it’s quite natural and very open. I like that.
I’d been through the court, and I’d been to the probation officers, and it all felt very artificial and claustrophobic and then I got here and felt none of that. It was literally a breath of fresh air. I was expecting claustrophobia. Without sounding too mean, I was expecting quite an oppressive atmosphere and to be seen as essentially a monster, but I mean that went out the window immediately. Chris came out of his office and smiled and was just so friendly and nice. Not even on my first day … on the actual … just the chat was … everything changed really. It suddenly … I felt that little spark of hope.
Ninety percent of my time has been in the garden, either harvesting or weeding. That’s about it. I’ve done a bit of work with Steve. We delivered a bench somewhere. We must’ve done other stuff, but I can’t remember any of it. None of the woodwork or anything, just everything outside in the garden. I’ve always liked gardening and after everything’s that’s happened it’s just peaceful. I know what I’m doing so I can just get on with it and it’s quiet and I don’t have to talk to people. There’s no stress or pressures, just nice.
I would’ve never thought I would say this because I’ve got real bad social anxiety, but honestly the people have been the best thing. I had a tough couple of days and thought I’m just going to come in and just sit down with Elli for a bit and just chat and immediately just felt so much better. There’s no therapy. There’s no agenda to it. Everybody’s just so nice and welcoming and encouraging. I love that.
Even just to vent a bit … just get it off my chest for a bit and just be told it’s going to be alright because there are days when it doesn’t feel like it’s fine and then come here and suddenly … actually yeah, maybe it will be alright.
I like coming here and then … I mean the chances are I’ll be in the garden, so I’ll speak to Lucy, and she’ll say we’ve got to do the weeding, we’ve got to harvest this, this and this, and then I’ll just go and do it. They’re the same jobs, but it’s always different on the day which I quite like. It’ll be different weather, different conversations, different people, different order of things. With plants, nothing’s ever easy, so there’s always going to be something. Yeah, I quite like the … I guess it’s ordered chaos, which I quite like … the plant world, the routine, there’s still structure to it but it’s not rigid.
When I’m at home playing on the Xbox or making stuff on the computer, I’m always in front of a screen, and then coming here … my phone’s off and in my bag, I’m neck deep in dirt. I guess it’s a break for a bit. Yeah. I love it.”