We can think of no better way to celebrate a Tuesday then to bring back Adam, our Engagement Co-ordinator at Basingstoke back to you again with some more insights into some of the work they are doing with the young people from our housing location. Over to you Adam:
‘Here at Basingstoke Housing we have had the privilege of working with Learning Through Landscapes (LTL) and the International Tree Foundation (ITF) to build a community orchard. The project was funded by the national lottery. We were one of ten YMCA’s partaking in the first year. The project was over six months, with eight workshops. We visited a community orchard in Basingstoke to see the layout and stock. It was fantastic to see our young people getting involved and asking questions, but the extent of their knowledge was incredible, they were answering each other’s questions before the leaders could get a word out.
We had a workshop on the international importance of trees, community produce, the need for more trees to be planted and sustainability. The young people spent several workshops measuring the site, and drawing plans. Once we had the plan of the area, the young people then worked out how many fruit trees we could get in our orchard, and then designed the layout. It amounted to 21 different varieties of fruit trees, with 4 soft fruit climbers. All the fruits were chosen by the young people, after a very delicious taste tasting session.
As we had some money left over in our budget, the young people decided they would like to build a pergola with a patio, so we did. I would like to say that it was arduous work, but with so many of our young people getting involved it was easy. Next came the planting, this was the hardest part of the project, as fruit trees are dormant in the winter, so it is the best time to plant. The soil was frozen solid! But with determination, and hard work the ground was broken. I lost count of how many hot chocolates I made that day! We then had a celebration event, where we drank fresh juice of the same varieties that we had planted, we ate cake and laughed until our sides hurt.
It was an amazing experience, and I was pleased to be involved in it. I learnt so much over the course of this project, about fruit trees, myself, and a great deal about the young people I work with.’
Thank you Adam, what a fantastic opportunity for everyone at Basingstoke Housing. A massive well done to everyone involved!