Inspiring The Next Green Generation

A community garden in Liverpool is connecting young people with nature and inspiring them to have a positive impact on their environment.

Speke Adventure Playground, known locally as The Venny, is a youth club and community centre. It offers afterschool and holiday activities for children and young people.

The Venny is one of 10 groups that has been involved in Groundwork CLM’s Green Influencer programme. The young people themselves decide what they want to learn about. At Grow Speke this included food growing and cooking, bees, wildflower meadow and pond management, composting, environmental art, woodwork and survival skills.

Being an influencer

Over 100 children and young people took part in the programme, which includes discussions about climate change. With increasing numbers of young people active on social media, many already understand the impact that an ‘influencer’ can have. The programme encourages them to take an active role in improving their local and global environment, by influencing their family and friends to think about the impact their behaviour has on the planet.

A great place for people and wildlife

With a polytunnel, raised beds, pond and wildflower meadow, Grow Speke is a great place to grow food and an ideal habitat for insects and wildlife. The young people identified the vast range of butterflies, moths and insects using ID cards and books and learned about the importance of safely releasing them back into their habitats. The programme also included a chance to learn about:

  • how to grow, harvest and cook your own food
  • how to look after a pond and feed the fish
  • the important role that bees play in nature and food growing

To celebrate what they had learned, the group pitched tents and set up a camp. They built a camp fire that was then used to cook food.

It was really beneficial for the young people and important as there is very little greenspace where they live in Speke.

Kim, who is a Youth Leader at The Venny is delighted that the children were allowed to fully engage in the activities and the project.  She said “It was really beneficial for the young people and important as there is very little greenspace where they live in Speke.  Getting them out in nature and being able to be creative and learn new skills at Grow Speke was a first time opportunity for many of the young people.  Their awareness of the environment, helping to protect and conserve nature and learning about where their food comes from was a really significant benefit and they absolutely loved being outdoors!”

Groundwork Green Mentor Ian Jones says:

We think it’s really important for children to be able to connect with nature and their environment. The Green Influencer programme provides them with a positive outdoor experience which also benefits their health and wellbeing. We want to inspire this next generation to have a positive impact on the environment.

Grow Speke, which is managed by Groundwork in partnership with South Liverpool Homes, also hosts Horticulture Sessions for adults, run by Myerscough College.
For more information, visit the Grow Speke Facebook page.