THOUGHTFUL young people working with The Prince’s Trust have helped to lay the foundations for a valuable community church garden in Brownsover.
Christ Church in Brownsover issued a call-out on social media for donations and help in renovating the garden in the church grounds.
Answering the call, 13 students enrolled on the Prince’s Trust Team Programme at Rugby College stepped up to help create a safe space in the community for families, the elderly and members of the church to visit for outdoor recreation.
Having formed an approved educational bubble, they built decking, planters, walls, benches and bird tables, created raised beds and a wildlife area, and planted the first plants in the garden.
The landscaping work including moving a tonne of topsoil and more than a tonne of wood chippings – all while ensuring pathways created were wide enough to be accessible for all.
The students had no previous experience and planned the project themselves. Now the garden is ready to welcome members of the community to plant seeds, tend flowers and vegetables, and use as a valued community meeting space.
Liz Hopkin, secretary of the church council, said: “The young people have been an absolute joy to work with and the church community has been very impressed.
“They came up with some brilliant ideas and we hope that we have supported them in terms of learning new skills, and boosting their employability for the future.
“The piece of land hadn’t been well maintained for a number of years, so earlier this year before the pandemic we decided to start on a project to transform the space.
“We received a grant from Warwickshire County Council to clear the space and then The Prince’s Trust got in touch and asked if they could help us to turn the space into a new community garden.
“We can support our local community now in a way we couldn’t do before and we hope that the space will help to bring people together.
“Our community has a large number of flats with limited outdoor space, so this will be a really important space for those living locally.
“If the Prince’s Trust hadn’t done the work, we would have had a blank space until spring.
“One of the young people who lives locally has said he will keep coming back to support us with maintaining the garden, and that kind of support is invaluable to a church such as ours.”
Coun Jim Ellis, who represents Brownsover on Rugby Borough Council, said: “While I’ve been helping Liz kickstart this with grant applications, she has been working tirelessly with these great young people – some of whom have had it tough – and they are putting something really positive, amazing and lasting back into the community.
“And they care, they have real pride in their work – with some even offering to come back and help maintain it.”
Georgia Allen, The Prince’s Trust Team Leader at WCG – the group which runs Rugby College – added: “We initially saw the advert on Facebook and got in touch with Christ Church right away to see how we could help.
“Many of the young people enrolled in the programme are in difficult circumstances themselves, so to know they are making a real impact with a project like this has been a big confidence boost for them.
“To complete a project such as this is fantastic experience for our programme participants, many of whom are not in education, employment or training, and they have certainly come away with new skills that they can use in future positions.”
Visit https://wcg.ac.uk/page/25/princes-trust for more information on The Prince’s Trust and programmes available through WCG.