Communities for Work Plus: A Case Study
Young Working Denbighshire participants making a difference in their community - Mount Wood, Denbigh’s Community Woodland and the Community Orchard near to the Council offices.
A small group of young people who are working with Working Denbighshire Employability Mentors to find suitable work, education or training have been meeting weekly online via Microsoft Teams. Due to some of the restrictions lifting we decided to meet up in person however we also wanted our meet up to be worthwhile for the community and the environment in some way. The young people came up with ideas of what they would like to do and we put a plan in action. With limited resources we knew we would need additional support so Jen Dutton (CfW+ Community Mentor) invited Heather Battisson- Howard (the Council's Green Space Officer) to the online virtual planning sessions so she could help us. We all shared ideas and a plan came together which we decided to deliver on 6 July 2021 in Denbigh.
Our Youth Community meet up involved collecting litter from a Community Woodland area and building bug hotels in a newly planted community orchard. We collected 2 bags of mixed litter which included lager cans, wine bottles, discarded dog poo bags, sweet wrappers, broken glass, plastic bottles, a broken cigarette lighter, cigarette butts and even a pedal off a push bike! The litter was spread out over the woodland area in the hedgerows however most of the items we collected were situated around the picnic bench areas.
After a picnic lunch and a good chat, we then constructed bug hotels from remnants of wooden pallets and disused wood. This involved using a battery drill to bore holes and screw them together. We then foraged for items to fill the structures we made and used a saw to cut through pieces of natural untreated wood. The bug hotels were then fixed onto the fence of the Community Orchard.
Good Practice Shared / Lessons Learned / Outcomes
The day went really well and the young people got along great. They made a TikTok video showcasing their work during the day. The young people are socially isolated so it was lovely to see them interacting and having a good time (whilst also maintaining a social distance!) The day also benefited the local community as 2 bags of rubbish were collected and bugs have somewhere safe to stay J. Bug hotels offer a sanctuary to beneficial insects, especially pollinators, Insects provide many benefits to the ecosystem through pollination, nutrient cycle and also a food source for birds.
The young people engaged in activities that they had not done and have learnt skills that they can use in future activities. They used a range of wood cutting tools under supervision to make the bug hotels.
The young people discovered new places they had never been before and enjoyed walking in the countryside and connecting with nature. Mount Wood has a variety of information panels throughout the trail which displays information about the history of the local area and these were discussed with the participants to ensure they understood the historical value of the area.