Volunteer Spotlight – Galina Gardner

Tell about yourself in one sentence… 

I am an oil painter and mother of four, currently studying Psychology with interest in Art Therapy, 

How did you get involved in volunteering for GYC? 

I first got involved when I was asked to provide a postcard for the art event ‘Hidden Potential’ in aid of GYC.  

I read more about Gloucestershire Young Carers and really liked the ethos of the charity, they seemed to be on the ground doing something really positive. 

I thought I’d like to help out in some way and I had experience teaching art in schools.  This coincided with lockdown and thinking about how people needed to find new ways to connect and be creative. I chatted to staff at GYC about my ideas and we together decided to pilot an art club for young adult carers. 

Tell us about the project you were involved in… 

It was a 7 week art course on Zoom. When we planned it we didn’t realise that we would be in a winter lockdown for the sessions, but it was really good to have something positive happening weekly during those months.   Back in December 2020 we had an introductory session when I got the chance to ask the carers what type of materials they were interested in experimenting with and to give an idea of the techniques we could cover.  Art club members were sent art packs in the post so they all had same materials.  Over the 6 weeks in Jan/Feb we used chalk, charcoal, watercolour, collage and had a go at lots of ideas using the different media.  The idea was to have fun and connect, and to broaden the carers knowledge and understanding of art.   I was surprised at the level of talent that the group had and how responsive they were to trying out the different techniques.  

What did you get out of it? 

It was the first time that I’d led a group on Zoom – which was a big learning curve on teaching art online and how different that is.   If I made a mistake, they were very forgiving.  We worked round the limitations and learnt to adapt.  Thankfully, because of the small size of the group it was possible to give some 1:1 feedback to individuals and see how each of them could learn and develop.  

I got a huge amount from it – gives me a sense that I am doing something that is hopefully going to make life a little easier for some people. It opened up possibilities as to what we could do online which is more than I would have initially thought. 

I would love to work again with Gloucestershire Young Carers, hopefully soon face to face when things start to open up again. 

If you have skills/time to share with young carers– speak to volunteer coordinator Sue Auld or email sue@glosyoungcarers.org.uk