14 December, 2017

Transforming Spaces, Transforming Lives

The NEET team at Youth Support Team (who work with young people who are not in education, employment or training) have been working in partnership with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) for a number of years. The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust provide volunteer opportunities to work outdoors on conservation projects in community environments as part of their national scheme Our Bright Future, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. For the right young person this is a great opportunity to build much needed confidence and skills needed to enter the world of work for the first time or after a break in employment. The Wildlife Trust get much needed person power to help them achieve their aims.

A team of around six volunteers and members of the GWT have been working in the garden of the YST centre in Whaddon to create a lovely community space that will attract the YST community as well as wildlife to the urban environment.

Recently we spent an afternoon finding out what the young people have been up to and to check on the progress of the space.

The volunteers have been planting, are in the process of creating an enclosed seating area on the site of an old willow that they chopped down and have constructed a dead hedge to attract more insects to the garden, using the willow discarded from the old tree .

Whilst we were there volunteers were getting busy with digging up a new planting site, installing a climber frame and making bird feeders - it's amazing what can be achieved in just a few hours.


Speaking with the young people about their experiences working with the GWR they are all getting so much from the project:

I really enjoy getting outside, doing physical work" 

You can take the skills you learn here away and apply them to your own garden"

It's built my confidence, being around others and learning new skills"

It's hard to make a difference but this has shown me that I can do little things and make an impact for the next generation"

All of the young people talked about how involvement in the project had had a positive impact on how they interact with their environments and wildlife and the way they now think about conservation and sustainability. They all agreed that they would recommend it to other young people and cited as benefits, 'learning new skills', 'team building', 'making new friends and contacts', and 'confidence building' as well as their new knowledge and attitudes about their environment and wildlife.

Duncan Murdoch, project officer for the GWR said:

It's really great to help young people reconnect with their environments. The project aims to work with volunteers to create new habitats for urban species and foster a greater understanding about plants and wildlife"

Something this project is obviously achieving and with the added benefit of gaining AQA certification for the skills and experience they are gaining by taking part.


Anyone interested in volunteering with the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust should visit their website.

For more information about our work with young people who are NEET click HERE >

The Our Brighter Future Project is funded by the Big Lottery Fund