Young volunteers help day centre grow and blossom

Photo 2 - Priory View

Photo 2 - Priory View

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A team of young volunteers have helped a Bridlington day centre move closer towards transforming its garden area into a ‘dream’ outdoor space.

The vastly improved garden area, which has the potential to be an ideal teaching environment, is set to benefit all those who attend Priory View Day Centre thanks to the efforts of a team of 12 volunteers aged 16 and 17.

The volunteers were part of the National Citizen Service (NCS), implemented locally by the East Riding Voluntary Action Services (ERVAS), which every year sees groups of young people spending time organising and running their own social action projects to help their local communities.

Staff at Priory View asked the NCS students to help with their garden project after ERVAS invited local community groups to apply.

The students spent a week working on the garden area, mostly focussing on the hard landscaping needed to turn it into a safer and more accessible space more suited to the needs of those who attend the day centre.

John Fortnum, team leader at Priory View, said: “Over the years the client base at Priory View has changed, with its present users needing much higher levels of support than in previous years, so there was a real need for us to improve the garden to reflect this.

“For the past 18 months we have been trying to move the project forwards, but much of the hard landscaping was proving difficult to complete.

“That’s when we decided to approach ERVAS to see if their NCS students would like to help. Thank you to the students and their team leaders for an action packed week that made a big impression on our garden dream.”

ERVAS had invited local community groups to get in touch with project suggestions for the NCS cohort, and 12 students chose to help Priory View.

Students carried out such tasks as paving the poly-tunnel area; building and fitting a gate to create ‘safe zones’ between two outdoor areas; concreting an area to create wheelchair access and an improved working space; tidying up the site; planting hanging baskets and sowing salad and vegetables.

The project enabled all the students involved to learn a wide range of new skills by taking part in tasks that they had never tried before.

Cllr Richard Harrap, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s portfolio holder for adult and carer services, said: “Everyone involved in this project has achieved an awful lot in such a short space of time, with their work already making a difference to those who attend Priory View. This was a fantastic team effort and I hope this is the start of a positive working relationship that will continue as the project develops.”

Prior to work starting the NCS students spent a week fund raising to buy tools and equipment, their efforts including a car wash, sponsored leg waxes, and a sponsored silence. Building materials were donated by MKM Building Supplies Bridlington.

Detty Tyler, project coordinator at ERVAS, said: “It was fantastic to see the transformation of the garden take place, as it was a huge undertaking involving a lot of preparation, planning and skill.

“The young people all worked so hard on the project, initially fundraising and allocating tasks for each of them, before carrying out all the work needed, engaging with the clients and finishing with an afternoon celebration tea party, at which they were delighted to receive an award from the day centre as well as a local youth volunteering award (VYPER).

“I’m extremely proud of all the young people who took part in this project and most grateful to John, Chris and all the staff at Priory View for their support.”