Hidden gems There are plenty of hidden gems in West Cornwall and it was a dull overcast day as I headed to my first one. Located a hop, skip and a jump from the busy tourist hot spots of St Ives an oasis of green space and tranquil ancient woodland - Steeple Woodland Nature Reserve. I'd been invited to join Colum, who heads up our Employer Supported Volunteering, on a site visit to find out more. We were met at the entrance by Alwyn, the main contact for the site and a volunteer himself and as we meandered through the site I thought we were the only ones around, little did I realise that there were volunteers dotted all around the Reserve (hidden by the undergrowth), working away with sythes and secateurs. Every Wednesday morning these dedicated volunteers get together to plant trees, keep the brambles in check, work on plans for disabled access and look to restore the natural heathland to part of the site. As Alwyn took us on a tour we glimpsed our first far reaching view of The Towans and started to spot the merry band of hard working volunteers, who emerged from the depths of ferns and brambles to introduce themselves. It was great to hear that they have also had some holidaymakers dropping in to volunteer! We were also shown the newly designated ancient woodland where a 400 year old majestic beech inspires awe. If you want to see this special site for yourself or you are inspired to volunteer, head along to their open day coming up on Sunday 17th September (I'm assured that the cake alone is worth the trip!) or contact Giles Newcombe on 01736798908. As I left the woodland and headed further West to Little Kelynack and Trebartine, home of Space For You, the day was warming up considerably. A small driveway marked the entrance leading to a couple of quaint houses and a stretch of lush grass for a car park. I was met at the door by Clare who has been running Space For You since 2010, a charity which offers healing and creative sessions and therapies for people who are feeling vulnerable. Clare was inspired to set up the charity when she saw first hand the lack of provision for friends struggling with various degrees of stress and distress. She runs the charity from her home with numerous outside spaces creatively converted - a bathroom in a shed, an arts room and pottery studio in an outhouse and a counselling room in a caravan. The spaces are all warm and welcoming with a very relaxed atmosphere. I arrived on a Wednesday which is the day they offer one to one body psychotherapy drop in sessions (no referral required) as well as some listening support. Everyone is encouraged to stay for the whole day to reap the maximum benefits and partake in creative sessions led by experienced practitioners. It was lovely to see the wide range of people attending the sessions - from young men to an 84 year old lady - and everyone mixing together at lunch time to enjoy a sandwich and a cuppa. Despite the stunning setting Space For You is looking to move to premises in Penzance so that more people can access their services, so, if anyone can help, be sure to contact Clare and the team. Just in case you thought there might only be one community initiative between Kelynack and Little Kelynack, think again! My last stop of the day was Bosavern Community Farm in the hot sunshine, a 33.5 acre site producing, supporting and promoting local food in an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable way I pulled in on spec as I'd heard so much about the Farm but hadn't had chance to visit and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I was met at the Farm Shop by a very knowledgeable volunteer who had travelled down from The Peak District to spend her summer volunteering in Cornwall. She invited me to take a mosey around the site so I readily accepted. After 6 polytunnels, a fruit cage and a stunning cob built community space (with a half finished game of Scrabble on the go!) I bumped into a very busy Hugh looking after the 320 chickens! If this sounds like your cup of tea head along to the volunteer growing drop-in sessions 10am - 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 2 - 5pm on Saturdays, training, work gloves, tools and refreshments provided! After visiting all these wonderful community spaces and places it was finally time to head back to the office inspired by the hard work of local and visiting volunteers and the compassion & patience it must take to open up your own home as a community space!