This year our winner is... Team 8, Hemel Hempstead
It is hard to overestimate the positive impact that a new garden at a care home in Hemel Hempstead has had on both the residents and the young people who created it. The new garden area has given residents a much-needed way to enjoy the outdoors whilst the Covid pandemic brought restrictions to their lives.
The young people on The Prince’s Trust Team programme have found a new interest in their lives and have gained a feeling of pride and accomplishment in their work.
Whilst taking part in the Team programme under an 'Educational bubble' within government guidelines Team 8 decided to run a community project that would give residents at a local care home an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors whilst also creating an area they could enjoy with their friends and family in the future.
Many of the team members had spent the last six months with little or no social interaction, resulting in mental health issues including depression and anxiety. They recognised that care home residents were also missing seeing their friends and family and decided to do something to help by creating an outdoor area for a local home. The made contact with the Alexandra Care Home in Hemel Hempstead.
The Team quickly formed a tight bond and worked well with each other. Team Leader Stephen Ford explains:
The care home team has been working amazingly hard to keep residents and staff safe and well during the pandemic and the ability to access the outdoors meant a lot to residents. The work Team 8 did to transform an area of garden, greatly enhanced the accessibility and use they could get from the gardens.
Team 8 raised funds to help with the transformation and despite harsh weather conditions created a beautiful patio that residents will be able to enjoy and where, in the future, they can meet family and friends. The Team also installed raised flower and vegetable beds that can be enjoyed when the warmer months return.
The young people have become a part of the care home community, as new friendships were made across the generations. The young people have a new focus in their lives and have volunteered to return to the home once a week, when restrictions allow, to help maintain the gardens.
Since completing the project several of the young people have moved into positive outcomes. One young person has now gained a CSCS card and is starting carpentry site work and another has started a hairdressing apprenticeship.
Meet the award finalists:
Beehavin’, based in Garnock Community Campus secondary school, is an apiary that has allowed pupils to learn a lot more than just beekeeping.
The hands-on learning experience has enhanced students’ knowledge and skills, allowed them to learn about the ecological connection between bees, land and food production, participate in the regeneration of the environment and improved their overall school attendance and performance.
Beehavin’ is an Innovative School Project; a partnership between the school, The Prince’s Trust and Developing the Young Workforce Ayrshire. The initiative encourages pupils to remain engaged in positive activities and to learn through doing. Through the project, pupils can complete recognised qualifications or certificates, develop employability and enterprise skills, participate in work experience and enhance their participation in community and volunteering.
Producing over 100 jars of honey since it was launched, Beehavin’ is recognised by The Scottish Beekeepers Association, with four of their members mentoring the pupils. It has also developed strong community links throughout Garnock Valley in Ayrshire with parents, local businesses and the large farming community in the school catchment all getting involved.
Setting up four hives and a polyneuk, they currently have an estimated 70,000 bees with the space and potential to add even more. The pupils deal with the care and husbandry of the bees including feeding, cleaning, health checks, artificial swarming and harvesting and selling the honey.
Valerie Howe, Teacher at Garnock Community Campus said: “The main aims behind our beekeeping project were for the pupils to develop knowledge of food and the environment, improve employability skills, engage with learning in an outdoor setting and develop partnership working. But it soon became apparent that each pupil who was involved was gaining a lot more. Beehavin’ is innovative in the way it has engaged with our pupils, and valuable in its ability to impart knowledge and skills to a whole community.”
The members of Beehavin’ had varying levels of academic ability and with some requiring additional support. As a group, they all increased their confidence, communication, teamwork, and timekeeping. Their engagement with learning and attendance at school improved considerably, with some even happy to attend school during the holidays to look after the bees.
Now, the group’s newfound passion for the environment has led them to consider creating a plastic free alternative food wrap made with leftover beeswax and to speak at events about the importance of pollinators.
Beth, a member of Beehavin’, added:
Bromley Team 24
Team 24 are an amazing group of young people who all experienced mental health issues and had social skills difficulties. They bonded quickly and realised that their common histories and experiences of waiting for mental health support could form the basis of their community project. The group shared their own mental wellbeing strategies with each other and decided they would like to share these with other young people awaiting mental health support.
One young person called Hayley said, “Before Team, I was really struggling with my mental health and had absolutely no confidence. I was supposed to be going back to secondary school to re-do year 11 but I could barely leave the house.”
Another young person, Will, said: “Before The Prince’s Trust I was a complete mess. I had no self-esteem at all. I would never go outside or leave my house and I was severely depressed.”
Within one week, the Team 24 young people collated their own coping strategies, using plain language that was easy to understand and designed a leaflet printed on yellow paper which would help those with dyslexia be able to read the leaflet easily. The leaflet included contact numbers for services available for young people in crisis, and it folded to a credit card size so it could be discreetly kept in a wallet or pocket.
Despite challenges for the young people, they persevered with this incredible project. Jayvon, one of the Team members, said: “During the first week I had an incident where I cried. I’m not sure why I did, I guess at this point I felt so out of my depth, like I didn’t belong there. Crying isn’t something I usually do, that’s the last time I’ve cried actually, so for it to happen was a shock to myself as well as others. Jane, David and the Team members were supportive and helped me through it”.
Over 2000 leaflets were printed and distributed with local youth services, social services, care teams and the college counselling service. It was exceptionally well received and is still in demand a year later.
Team Leader Jane Myles said, “I want to nominate these young people for bravely facing their own demons, with honesty and realism, and choosing to help others within their community. They were the people that they had needed at one time.”
Following the Team programme, some young people have continued studying and others are looking for work. Faye, Reece and Jayvon continue to look for work but are feeling positive.
Hayley is now studying Health and Social Care Level 2 at London South East College Bromley campus with the aim of becoming a social worker, and Will is studying tree surgery at college and says, “The Prince’s Trust is the best thing that has ever happened to me”.
Team 27, East Coast College
“Team has really helped me with every aspect of my mental wellbeing; it has given me a purpose and perspective.” This is just one of the comments from the young people taking part in a Team programme at East Coast College.
As part of the 12-week personal development course, which helps participants to develop their confidence and skills, Team 27 decided to run a community project that would help young people who were struggling with their mental health.
Living through an international pandemic can be an anxiety-inducing time for anyone and particularly for young people. The team wanted to support young people with mental health issues, as well as those who are primary carers for their parents or siblings and those who live alone, resulting in a feeling of isolation. Team 27 researched the main issues impacting young people and created support resources to help them.
Their research included interviewing key workers, public sector leaders, youth support workers and Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Leader of the House of Commons.
To reach an audience of young people, Team 27 created an inspirational video that would help young people to understand that they are not alone. The video was written, produced, and edited by members of Team 27 and addresses the issues faced by young people during the pandemic. It ends on the very positive message that there is hope and support out there. More information about this support is signposted on the team’s specially-created blog.
The project has been appreciated by the community and has greatly helped the young people themselves to feel more optimistic about their futures. They are also making plans for their next steps thanks to their new-found project management skills and self-confidence.
Several of the young people have moved into positive outcomes including mentoring on the ‘Kick The Dust’ programme run by Norfolk Museums, relocating to improve their job prospects and to live independently, applying to read history at university and volunteering at St George's Theatre.
Team member Jamie said: “I don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t here; it’s kept me out of trouble and from negative peer pressure.” Fellow team member Tiah-Paige concluded:
Team 204, Young Gloucestershire
Young Gloucestershire’s Prince’s Trust Team 204 were passionate about supporting the homeless in their local area and focused their community project on making a difference. Some of the members of the Team had experienced homelessness themselves and were adamant that they would make a positive change during their time on the Team programme.
The group partnered with Gloucester City Mission and decided to feed the homeless over two days during a freezing cold January. To fundraise for the meals, the Team completed a bag pack at Asda where they raised £161, and a 10-mile sponsored walk along the canal in Gloucester which raised £80.
Once they had raised the money to buy the food, the group prepared an incredible menu:
Day 1: a three-course meal from scratch. The starter was curried parsnip soup with cheesy garlic bread, a spaghetti bolognese for main course and cake and ice cream for desert.
Day 2: an afternoon cream tea, including cheese, ham, egg mayo and tuna sweetcorn sandwiches, sausage rolls, cheese scones, scones with cream and jam, a Victoria sponge cake and tea and coffee.
With an ambitious menu, the team spent two days preparing food at the Gloucester City Mission premises, and then on two consecutive days served 30 to 40 very cold and hungry homeless people. The young people interacted with the diners and the buzz of conversation created a warm and welcoming energy.
The young people on the Team programme had all come from completely different backgrounds but they worked really well as a group. Eight of the young people were living in supported housing and were particularly passionate about supporting the homeless. Some of the young people suffered with PTSD, others with Asperger Syndrome and Autism. Two of the young people were gender transitioning during their time on the programme, one young person was suicidal, and one was addicted to drugs.
For all the young people, the Team programme transformed their lives. Mental health improved, confidence soared, drug addictions were overcome, and every young person improved their teamwork skills. Not only did the young people transform lives in Gloucester by supporting the homeless, but they worked together to improve their own lives too.
About the sponsor
We would like to say a huge thank you to Dell Technologies, for sponsoring the Community Impact Award.
Dell Technologies’ support of The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards for the past three years has made a real difference to the lives of thousands of young people across the UK, inspiring and motivating young people to achieve their best in life.
Find out more about Dell Technologies here.