Recently, BlogPreston was invited by Prince’s Trust team member, Dan Livesey, to go along to see the result of the work done by a group of young people from Preston’s Team 57 of the Prince’s Trust to the garden of the Acorn Community House, Willow Crescent in Ribbleton, Preston. The team were originally given a choice of four projects and the task of restoring the garden was the most appealing to them all as a great challenge.Advertisement
Essentially, the Prince’s Trust team were required to completely restore the garden from its very overgrown and dilapidated state and to introduce new ideas of design and features. The work carried out was coordinated and agreed upon by the owners of the building, Community Gateway and Ann Smith, the chair of Acorn Community House.
Lee Mangan is the Team Leader working for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, during his term of secondment it was his task to run the Prince’s Trust 12 week development course aimed at 16-25 year old’s who are not in employment, education or training and have low confidence, self esteem, mental health problems, poor communication skills, few social skills. Lee has been helped on this project by P.C.S.O. Sue Wilson who is on loan to the Lancashire Fire Services to help break down barriers between young people and people of authority, enabling the project to be brought together.
Lee told us, “for me the course is all about giving support, confidence and belief in the young people themselves and being able for them to trust others. I am not their parents, teachers, I am somebody who will give my all to help them move on and seeing young people grow in confidence is the most rewarding part of job. Everybody is good at something and to help a young person realise this is priceless”.
Acorn Community House is provided rent free by Community Gateway and situated on ‘The Trees’ estate in Ribbleton. It is run entirely by volunteers, one of which is Ann Smith, the Chair of the association. Ann has worked tirelessly for 14 years with the association and is looked upon as being the essential kingpin, gaining the deepest respect from all her friends and colleagues.
Ann told us, “the project is a fantastic way to educate kids for the life ahead and how to deal with all sorts of life situations”.
Community Development Officer, Jinty Williams of the Community Gateway organisation stated that she was “absolutely blown away by the way that the kids have come together to complete the work on the garden, bearing in mind that ten weeks previously none of them had ever met each other before”.
When we asked Lee about the structure of the course and he said, “we guide them through the 12 week course tapping into their skills, raising confidence, self esteem and showing not only themselves but the rest of the world what they can do, embody this into a CV and give them real examples to talk about at interviews”.
Week 1 Meet the team
Week 2 Residential, we take them to the lakes, canoeing, abseiling, mountaineering, building trust in each other
Week 3-6 Community Project. They raise money by bag packing and research local projects, decide on a project as a team. They then contact local businesses asking for donations to help them with project then plan and deliver.
Week 7-8 Work experience
Week 9 Update CV, interviews, next steps, college course, apprenticeships, traineeships
Week 10-11 More fundraising, taking disabled, elderly out day trips, dinner dances, afternoon tea, giving something back to the community
Week 12 Final Presentation.
local businesses donated the following items for the project.
Travis Perkins. Over 100 worth of sleepers, use of power washer for a week
Homebase Plants, stones, apple trees, discounts on products
Duxbury Farm, free Woodchester.
Seven Star Tyres, tyres for decoration purposes
Market Traders in Preston market, brushes
Tesco Church Street, food donated for handover event
Hobbycraft, Flowers, birdbox.
Preston Council, recycle bins provided for free.
Dominic, head park ranger of Miller and Avenham parks, who helped provide a bench that needed upcyling.
Many other pictures of the Team 57 project in the following Flickr slideshow from Gill Lawson
Have you seen the Acorn Community House garden project? Let us know in the comments below.