3 years ago our youth charity, Youth Moves, started a junior and senior youth group called Urban Escape in Knowle West, Bristol. These groups were instigated by young people who had either taken part in our education Forest School / Survival Skills programmes or were hanging around on the estate bored and wanting something positive outdoors to channel their energies!!!
Urban Escape promotes a wide variety of hands on and creative sessions that reconnect young people with nature and their community. To get real a flavour of what we do, please click on here to check out our facebook page. Together we built a roundhouse, polly-tunnel, orchard and growing spaces, amphitheatre and most recently an outdoor cooking space with our adult gardening group.
To find us at The Roundhouse at Springfields Allotments, please click on this link and the site entrance is the double green gates between 50-52 Andover Rd, Knowle Bristol. Part of the project is for young people to grow produce, learn and cook recipes and then invite and teach adult community groups, whilst building community spirit in the process. They have cooked for a dementia group, young mums, isolated males, adults with learning difficulties, brownies, ex teachers and the list goes on...
Here is clip of when our juniors cooked and sang with an elderley dementia group.
The real magic happens when they sit down around the table to eat and have a chat. The common theme to these discussions have been young people saying they couldn't maintain the acre growing space in 2 weekly, 2 hour sessions and it stopped them doing more fun stuff (their words)! Local adults loved the space and how it was supporting and inspiring young people and said there was a need to provide a similar project for adults in the area that could be unemployed, signed off work, suffering from mental health, retired etc. and wanted to get involved with the project. The adult gardening group was born!!!
We have now piloted the adult gardening group for 6 months and organically created a wonderful group consisting of adults from all walks of life and with many different needs. We share a common belief that the group supports them, teaches them new skills and positively impacts on their own quality of life.
This experience has shown that the adult group is the glue that holds the whole Urban Escape project together.
The space now inspires new young people to the space, as it is being lovingly tended too and developed by the adult group.
For example, a daily watering rota with our adults means we can really grow produce and enable school and youth groups to also reep the fruits of their collective labour.
The roundhouse space has literally been transformed since the adult group started and we hope to make it sustainable in the future by hiring out the roundhouse to other youth, community or business groups.
However, all this takes time and we are currently only funded until July. Being successful with this crowdfunder will give us a year to staff the adult group, make the group sustainable and ensure that young people and adults from across South Bristol get to benefit from reconnecting with nature and growing community spirit for years to come.