Throughout 2013 we continued to deliver our Big Lottery funded project, Operation Green. This project is based in Great Yarmouth and involves transforming four neglected green spaces around the town, working with local communities and Communities of Interest. Operation Green has been designed to encourage people outdoors, to support them in carrying out practical site transformation tasks and through these activities increase participants’ levels of confidence and wellbeing. 2013 saw this project continue to deliver positive outcomes for Great Yarmouth residents and green spaces and, through adapting to changing circumstances; to broaden this impact still further. We are working with a number of project partners, including those who support particular Communities of Interest.
Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind has been a project partner since Operation Green’s inception. Throughout 2013 Mind service users participated in the project, with twenty two engaging for a sustained period of time. Participants offered feedback such as “that was lovely, there’s nature all around you’, it feels like all my troubles have floated away.”
Young people are an important part of this project, but our original partner was unable to continue working with us on this project when their organisational focus shifted. However, we were able to develop a new partnership with Cliff Park High School who supported the participation of students from their ‘nurture group’. Thirteen students engaged with the project for a sustained period.
We also developed a new partnership with Leeway, as we brought a new Community of Interest into Operation Green; women’s refuge residents. We have been supporting residents to transform their outdoor space whilst offering a range of craft and exploration activities designed to be accessible to the women and children living within the refuge. Twenty two residents engaged with the project for a sustained period; feedback included “It was really good to have time with my children learning about new things’ and ‘I’m not someone who does much outdoor stuff but this course encouraged me to get outside and experience new things.”
During 2013 we began to support participants to work towards the John Muir Award. Seven Cliff Park High School students and two members of staff achieved the John Muir Discovery Award, as did six service users and one member of staff from Great Yarmouth and Waveney Mind.
Following a successful pilot project during 2012 with the charity Family Action, they engaged our services for a two day conservation and outdoor activity project during the Easter school holiday. The charity works locally with families experiencing a range of social and health challenges. We offered these families the opportunity to spend time working alongside one another carrying out practical tasks, being creative and having fun! New friendships were made, family bonds strengthened and everyone was able to spend some quality time outdoors in the spring sunshine.
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