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Meet the team: Community manager Sam

Last month we had a change of guard at lifework, and welcomed two new community managers, Lucy and Sam, who you may well have already met.

Sam Geddes grew up in North Wales and moved to Wiltshire in 2008. She lives here with her husband, Jon, and Iarann her youngest son. She has three grown-up children Elle, Seirian and Alfie.

Having founded and run her own businesses for 14 years she values connection, community, and collaboration. She is excited to contribute to the sustainable approach to life and work, here at lifework. Sam loves Nature, stories of people and places, and following her curiosity. Sam writes, walks and spends time wild gardening. She writes “Whispers from my Wild Garden” on Substack.

What's your favourite part of your job -so far- at lifework?

Being in a space that cultivates a different approach to “working” - everyone is welcoming and friendly. It has been refreshing after being out of the workplace for over 14 years.

Of course, stories, I love stories and learning about members - albeit slowly - I love the journey people have taken to get to today and how that might help them connect with other members or partners.

What are you excited about at lifework in 2024?

I’m thrilled to be part of a team - solo working is lonely - one that is open to running with ideas and listening to the community to navigate and create opportunities for collective success. 

Building on creating a welcoming space to encourage those who work alone to pop in for a chat, enabling them to benefit from spending time at lifework and gain value from the wealth of knowledge that resides there every day.

I’m eager to bring everyone together regularly, it is important to take care of yourself and make space to let your imagination breathe to let that creativity flow - it is a vital part of life and work. So I’m excited to integrate that further into the program for 2024 - maybe get members writing too.

You're a writer, where do you find your inspiration in the depth of winter?

Don’t tell winter but autumn is my favourite. 

I love to capture moments. I take my camera out on a brisk walk and let my curiosity wander, along the floor or above in the trees. An inspirational moment can arrive in a second, whether it is the sun as it kisses a leaf on the highest bough, sending white whispers to catch the wind and spread the coming of spring or the stillness of a deer nestled amongst the protection of trees, pondering if I’m friend or foe.

It is the stillness of winter that feeds my inspiration.

You love being outside and are a keen walker. What are your top 3 walks of all time?

I like to wander. I’ve been doing it since I found my feet. I used to head off above Dyserth waterfall, where I lived as a child, and be lost for hours, with nature and my imagination. Running along the beach as a teenager so the cobwebs don’t take hold. I had the best of all worlds growing up in North Wales which has fed my love for the outdoors. 

The Offas Dyke runs right through Prestatyn, it was simply a part of my playground it wasn't till I got older that I realised the deep history that runs with it and the many people who have travelled upon it. I’ve never done the whole length but I would love to.

My three top walks would be:

1. The Bannau (Brecon Beacons) - The 7 Waterfalls is a stunning experience, I’ve even picnicked in the snow there.

2. The Miners Track on Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) for the lakes and the view from the top (if you’re lucky) and the accomplished feel it gives you. 

3. The Laugavegur Trek, Iceland, is a humbling trek through an incredible landscape. I went here in 2016 with Charity Challenge for the NSPCC with a group of high school friends whom I hadn’t seen since we left in 1991. You’ll find snow fields, moon-like scapes, bubbling hot natural spas to dip into breathtaking views and camping - I loved it. It was certainly worth the three-day mental and physical challenge.

I like to find old maps and walking books in charity shops to invite me to walk in places I’d never thought of, there is so much to explore in the UK from the coastal path to the mountains in the north. 

I always keep my walking boots (and proper socks) in the car - together with a waterproof jacket and snacks just in case I find a path that piques my curiosity.

We love the sound of your wild garden. Any tips for those starting out?

I can’t be without nature and it was important to me to invite it onto my doorstep. I believe the biggest thing to know is you don't need to interfere too much with nature, it's a trust exercise and what wants to grow will grow and what doesn't won't. Learning about your mini eco-system whether that is a plant pot or a field, is a baby-step journey. I’ve read a lot of books!

We built a Mini Beast Motel out of old pallets, but you can use anything, a pile of branches, Lovage stems that have dried out - we even made a pond out of an old tub, and the frogs loved it.

I started with herbs, which I use to cook with mostly. I think it is important to be realistic with your time and space. Although, failure is inevitable, set yourself up for success by taking an experimental approach to whatever you are growing.

Start with a packet of seeds - or ask a neighbour (or me) if you can have some seeds from one of their plants in Autumn. Most wildflowers are good to be sprinkled straight onto the soil, but other things like vegetables might be happier in a pot on the kitchen window sill to start them off before our weather warms up in the UK and then they can go outside.

Above all ask yourself what is important to you, is it the joy of a beautiful garden, doing your bit for nature or finding ways to feed your family sustainably?

I like watching YouTube videos from my favourite gardening people:

Huw Richards, Homegrown.Garden, Wild Your Garden with Joel Ashton, Gaz Oakley and Spicy Moustache.

I'm excited to have our very own Kate from Grown Green to learn from right next door too!

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