Children & young people spring into social action thanks to seven pioneering projects

Look UK volunteers and staff
Volunteers and staff from LOOK UK, one of the projects awarded funding

From tackling climate change and empowering young carers to establishing a community garden, Herefordshire Community Foundation is pleased to announce that seven local projects for children and young people have been awarded a total of £67,446  funding to help them make a difference in their communities.

The grants have been made possible thanks to the Herefordshire Community Foundation and the #iwill Fund, a joint investment from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Bridie Sullivan, CEO of Herefordshire Community Foundation explains, “The #iwill programme helps young people address issues which are important to them and to give something back to their community, whilst also enabling them to develop their skills and confidence. We’re really excited to provide the catalyst to bring these seven projects to life as they hold so much potential.”

The successful projects are as follows:

A group of children aged 7 to 11 at the Diocese of Hereford Multi Academy Trust will be working with a local sustainability consultant and author to take action against climate change. They are aiming to raise awareness amongst other children by writing stories to explain the issues and offering hopeful solutions. They’ll also hear the latest thinking from guest speakers and be encouraged to learn new advocacy skills.

In Ledbury, Leominster and Bromyard, young people aged 10 to 16 will train as dementia friends and run outdoor activities for elders with dementia. Working with care homes, dementia cafes and meetings centres, young people will accompany those with dementia on accessible group walks in nearby parks, woodlands, orchards and National Trust sites. This project will be managed by Everybody Dance, supported by a range of partners including Healthy Lifestyles Service, Ledbury Carers, Hereford Carers, Leominster Dementia Meeting Centre, Bosbury School, Earl Mortimer College & Sixth Form and Age UK’s CAMBUS (Coffee & Memory Bus).

Visually impaired 10 to 16 year olds will take part in a 12-month mentoring and campaigning programme organised by the LOOK UK charity. To help them improve their ability to self-advocate for their needs, the participants will develop life skills including public speaking, debating, campaigning and even podcasting. Over the course of the year, they’ll make new friends, host fundraisers and break down barriers by talking about visual impairment at school assemblies.

The #iwill funding will enable Growing Local to launch their Youth Volunteer programme. Participants will help develop and create the new Growing Local Gardens site. They will gain experience across a range of tasks from digging and carpentry, to constructing raised beds and fencing. As well as shaping the projects, the youth volunteers will design and create their own dedicated areas of the garden which they can continue to tend in the future. 

hvossYoung Carers project will raise awareness of the issues they face, such as isolation and lack of support. Young carers will be connected through monthly sessions in Hereford, Ross-on-Wye, Ledbury and online. Various activities will help them develop their skills, whilst also offering them the  chance to enjoy being a child. Young carers will be encouraged to find their voice and present at school assemblies as well as to professionals. They will also run a social media campaign to network with other young carers and offer support.

In parallel, hvoss will run a project with Young Adult Carers reaching out to those in this situation, supporting them to develop skills and helping them handle transitions in their lives, such as moving to college. Participants will also devise an awareness-raising campaign to help explain the issues they face to professionals and decision-makers, including social workers, GPs and social prescribers and senior officers in the country and city councils. 

Finally, the funding will support Close House Projects’ EPICs, a youth volunteering programme which stands for Energetic, Positive, Informed, Creative. It provides opportunities for young people to volunteer at community events. The young participants bring a much-appreciated energy and imagination, whilst enjoying a positive life experience. Regular events supported by the EPICs include serving teas at the Remembrance Day Parade, hosting a teen zone at the Hereford River Carnival and supporting the Kindle Centre’s lunches for the elderly.