Anna Johnson
Living through Landscapes Senior Project Officer

“Throughout my working life I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some amazing people. Learning to really listen to them, to hear their stories to date and hopes for the future…”

About Anna

When did you start working for LtL and what does your job involve?

Along with Helen I look after the Living through Landscapes project. With our partners we work with care homes and day centres around the UK to improve their gardens and the way that they get used. It’s my job to keep everything on track and I do this mostly from my desk in Winchester. Although I do get out sometimes – usually to welcome new settings into the programme or to celebrate with them once their gardens are complete. Both absolutely lovely jobs!

The 3 experiences that have best equipped you for this role?

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I’m not someone who would think of themselves as very ‘outdoorsy’. But whilst I don’t think I’m ever going to love pruning flowers or getting muddy feet, over the past few years I’ve loved exploring and finding things that I enjoy doing outside. I think that having the experience of feeling like I’ve learned to appreciate spending time outside gives me a useful perspective and understanding.

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Before LtL I worked for a Housing Association organising community projects. I did all sorts of things from working with the police to address crime in our neighbourhoods, to helping older tenants keep in touch with their grandchildren by teaching them how to use tablets and smartphones. But my absolute favourite thing that I worked on was transforming some of the communal spaces around our homes, into places that were a nice place for both the people who lived there, and local wildlife to hang out in.

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I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. Throughout my working life I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some amazing people. Learning to really listen to them, to hear their stories to date and hopes for the future, helps us in the project provide truly individual support to the care settings that we work with.

Anna’s LtL Experience

What has been your best day at LtL and why?

My best days are almost always those where I get to go out and spend time in the care homes and day centres we work with. One day that really stands out is when I met two members of staff at a care home in Northern Ireland. They had already been working hard on improving their garden and spoke to me about donated hens, a well made from old tyres, pots and baskets overflowing with flowers, and raised beds and allotments made from recycled pallets. But even more importantly I also heard stories about residents going out in all weathers to collect eggs every day, a very unwell lady smiling as she felt the sun on her face for the first time in a long while, and how much more relaxed families visiting their loved ones are when they can sit out in the garden. I left feeling totally inspired, and overwhelmed by the caring relationships they shared with the people they looked after. If I’m ever having a difficult day at work, I think back to that conversation and it reminds me why even the most challenging day in the office is 100% worth it.

Why a pair of trainers?

I chose my trainers and race number as running is the one thing that will get me outside no matter where I am or what I’m doing. It is also the time that I feel the most connected with nature, aware of what I can hear, and feel beneath my feet, as well as what I can see. That connection to the place and the moment that I’m in, makes running good for my soul as well as my legs.

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