Mandy Renwick. is a volunteer at CCI Scotland

I HAVE been volunteering at Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) for over a year. CCI’s motto is “everyone contributes, everyone gains” and I have done both through volunteering. I was initially referred here by Healthy Valleys (another organisation I volunteer with) as I was struggling with depression and anxiety after losing my husband.

Most of the people who come to CCI are experiencing challenges in life, but we are valued here for who we are and what we bring. There is a genuine atmosphere of support and respect and people are able to realise their potential and use their skills as well as developing new ones.

On Mondays, I am a “peer mentor” in the kitchen. We make cakes, biscuits and three types of chutney from produce grown on site. My role is to support others to learn cooking skills. I really enjoy this – seeing people grow and gain confidence and sharing some of my own recipes, ideas and experience with them. I am a “people person” and I like to help wherever I am needed.

On Wednesdays I work with another volunteer to make soaps and lip balms. This is for our social enterprise micro-business Langloch Botanics. The products are then sold at local craft fairs, shops and online. Langloch Botanics has been going for a couple of years and has proven to be very popular. I love the creativity of production and have enjoyed learning a new craft. We also grow and harvest the flowers and herbs that are used in the products. Our products are natural, use fair trade ingredients and are as environmentally friendly as possible, so they are good for the skin and the planet.

READ MORE: Langloch Botanics is a natural cosmetics firm with a conscience

At CCI we are always focused on the job in hand, but we also have a good laugh and chat. Making new friends and meeting new people is one of the many benefits I have found through coming to CCI. I was lonely after my husband passed and volunteering has opened up a whole new network for me; I love being part of a team. I live in a rural area and CCI provides opportunities for people who may otherwise be isolated. Being part of a social enterprise means I am contributing to the whole project, and using my time and gifts gives me a sense of satisfaction and helps my self-esteem.

There are a lot of other projects at CCI – the wood workshop, the fruit and vegetable gardening, and environmental projects in the local community; many other volunteers could tell you their own positive experiences. CCI provides a lot of opportunities and I am just one of many people who really look forward to coming each week. I always love my Mondays and Wednesdays!

Learn more about CCI Scotland at