A group of 14 young people from the Community Space Challenge Programme in East Ashington have been working hard to create a truly 'green' house in Seaton Hirst allotments, made from 1500 recycled plastic bottles donated by SITA UK.
The project to build the eco-style greenhouse forms part of the challenge, a five-year programme funded by the Big Lottery which aims to support young people who want to take a leading role in transforming their local community and environment.
The young people are planning to grow their own fruit and vegetables in the greenhouse and their allotment which they have spent time developing over the summer.
The greenhouse project forms one of 70 environmental initiatives selected to receive funding and is managed by Northumberland Youth Offending Service Prevention team and delivered by Hirst Welfare Centre in Ashington, in partnership with Positive Futures. The centre works with young people to provide positive alternatives to getting involved in antisocial behaviour and criminal activities.
Glynis Reynolds, Community Space Challenge Co-ordinator, believes that projects such as the greenhouse provide opportunities for young people to take a pride in their community.
'We want to give young people of East Ashington a chance to make a real difference in their community by identifying areas in the neighbourhood that can be improved and the allotment and greenhouse are just one of these areas. Thanks to SITA UK, who kindly saved the plastic bottles and delivered them to the site, the whole community can now benefit. The young people are also learning about gardening from the allotment holders, which helps break down barriers between generations and cultures.”
Charlotte Jones, Business Manager at SITA UK's North Tyneside Waste Transfer Station was delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile scheme.
“To take something like a plastic bottle and make it into a working greenhouse is fantastic and a great use of a very popular product. It will be great to see the youngsters grow their own fruit and vegetables and then develop recipes using the seasonal produce.”
Groundwork Northumberland, Northumberland Positive Futures and Eventful North East also supported the delivery of the project. Rachael Bewley, Positive Futures Co-ordinator who works with young people in the Hirst area at risk of social exclusion, is appreciative of the scheme and how it links with young people in the area.
“It is important for the young people to have something that they feel a part of, respect and appreciate. The fact that they built this greenhouse means something to them. Being able to plant their own fruit and vegetables, watch them grow and learn about healthy eating and cooking will benefit their futures.”