Green-fingered youths make a difference in Swindon

Young people in Swindon have improved their local environment, as well as their gardening skills, by planting trees and fruits at their residential scheme.

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Staff and residents at Stonewater’s Foyer in Swindon, a 57 bed hostel which provides safe accommodation to homeless young people aged 16-25, teamed up with Fruit-Full Communities (FFC) to set up a planting day that helped young people gain new skills and feel a sense of pride in their outdoor space.

As part of the work between Stonewater and FFC, residents visited other schemes and projects across the region to learn more about how to cook the food they will grow, encouraging them and their peers to stay healthy and eat foods that they wouldn’t normally.

Dave*, a resident at the Foyer in Swindon said, “We have been working hard to get the ground into a good condition so that the plants have a chance to thrive. Now the area is something we want to spend time, and it’s been great to get my hands dirty as part of this project.”

Karina Young, Stonewater’s Healthy Living Co-ordinator, said, “It’s been great to see smiles on their faces of the young people, who have really engaged with the project. These activities are crucial in building confidence and engaging young people so that they can make positive changes to their lives.”

Richard Barry, who works for Fruit-full Communities Project, said, "Fruit-full Communities is a project that sits within the 'Our Bright Futures' partnership and is funded by The National Lottery. It was a privilege to be able to work with some of the residents from Swindon Foyer to help them transform an underused and neglected central garden. Projects like this can be a vital tool in helping people to improve their personal wellbeing and employment prospects. Everyone is delighted with the results and the hope is that the space will now become an much loved and well-used area"

*Name changed to protect our residents identity.