Community charity, Groundwork, has teamed up with the Royal Navy to offer school children in Birmingham and London the opportunity to get involved in a unique design competition to revamp local parks and greenspaces to help improve their local area.
The 'UGarden' project encourages young people to work in teams to plan, agree and present their ideas around developing part of a local greenspace to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of local stakeholders. The winning team will be the one who successfully meets the brief given and presents design proposals with the potential to be considered to be used in the local plans for the greenspace.
This exciting collaboration for Groundwork with the Royal Navy will continue in March and will focus on ensuring spaces are attractive and usable by whole communities as well as addressing air quality concerns, biodiversity, sustainability and climate change adaptation. Groundwork will provide guidance in designing the gardens for maximum environmental benefit, while the Royal Navy teams will mentor the students to improve their planning, communication and presentation skills.
In Birmingham, two Year 9 school groups (13 -14 year olds) from Eden Boys School and Handsworth Wood Girls Academy, will come together to work on the project. They will focus their creativity on a corner of Handsworth Park, which was identified by the Constituency Park Manager and poses many design challenges.
In London, two year nine school groups (13 -14 year olds) at the Phoenix Academy, Shepherds Bush and the Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, Ealing will team up on the project. Their creativity will be utilised to imagine how a new Queens Park Rangers (QPR) community stadium near Wormwood Scrubs could connect with the green open space to protect it and encourage more people to use it. It will contribute to QPR’s engagement with local residents, schools and community groups around the potential plans for the site.
Graham Duxbury, Groundwork's national CEO, said:
It is great to be collaborating with the Royal Navy on this exciting programme, and to use their employees’ skills and experience in a voluntary capacity to engage these students in thinking about why it’s important to get involved in green spaces and how they can help create better places in our communities.
Groundwork has worked alongside communities for over 35-years to create better and greener spaces and projects such as these are so important to ensure that we are harnessing the passion and skills of young people and getting them interested in their local community.
Chief Petty Officer, Graeme McCall of the Royal Navy said:
This has been a great way for our staff to share the transferable skills and knowledge they’ve developed in the Royal Navy with local students, and give them some guidance on how to improve areas where they need development.
These are skills that all students will find really useful both while studying and in the future when they’re looking for employment. There are so many learning opportunities for students through this project, and the beauty of it is that these students will see a result from all their hard work – we hope their designs will actually be turned into reality.
Notes to Editors
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Groundwork is the community charity with a green heart. We have worked for over 35 years to provide training and create jobs, reduce energy use and waste, re-connect people with nature and transform whole neighbourhoods. Step by step we’ll go on changing places and changing lives until everywhere is green and vibrant, every community is strong enough to shape its own destiny and everyone can reach their potential.
For more information visit: www.groundwork.org.uk