Outgoing leader of Grow Your Own Community project hailed as 'huge asset to Sudbury'
A key member of a community scheme is preparing to leave his role to embark on a new career.
Dan Wheals, who works as a project co-ordinator at ActivLives, has decided to pursue his long-term goal of becoming a primary school teacher.
In September, he will join Pot Kiln Primary School in Great Cornard, where he will complete his teacher training, while gaining the necessary qualifications.
Mr Wheals has worked at ActivLives for the last two years, helping to run the charity’s Grow Your Own Community project.
The scheme provides free gardening sessions in the area for volunteers, who maintain green spaces, while socialising and keeping fit.
Mr Wheals is now looking forward to the next chapter in his life.
“I love what I do but I wanted something full-time,” he said. “I have been working in schools for 10 years.”
Mr Wheals has praised the social aspect of his role, helping him to form strong friendships.
“I’ll miss the people,” he said. “I have met so many friends and acquaintances in Sudbury, not just the volunteers, but people in the residential areas where we have worked.”
Originally from East Bergholt, Mr Wheals moved to the Sudbury area more than two years ago.
“It really feels like I’m part of the community,” he said. “It was a town I didn’t know much about before I moved here, but now it is a big part of my life.”
Susannah Robirosa, development manager at ActivGardens, described Mr Wheals as a valued member of the charity.
“Dan has been a huge asset to Sudbury,” she said. “He is truly a people person and has engendered a fantastic sense of community – both in Belle Vue Park, where volunteers gather every Thursday morning, and in other areas of the town, where he has brought residents together to garden and grow.
“I think Dan will make an amazing, inspirational teacher and we look forward to working with him – and his classes – on future projects in the park and beyond.
Mrs Robirosa added: “He is the right person to inspire young people to get growing.”
Gardening sessions will continue running at Belle Vue Park every Thursday.
For more information about the project, call 01473 345350.