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July 7, 2022

Project Grow pilot gets “10 out of 10”

Pilot project for young people has shown huge potential

Project Grow is an outdoor learning project for 15-18 year olds who aren’t in work, education or training. The pilot project recently scored a ‘10/10’ rating from its participants.

This initiative, which was set up last autumn, offers a supportive space for young people to develop skills and confidence. Since February, the project has helped groups of 15-18 year olds with support from the 1% Woodland Tax.

The impact is already clear. The project has shown huge potential to engage young people through outdoor learning – and the participants agree.

We asked project leader Alex Hart to tell us more. 

“Some young people feel let down” said Alex, who is a director at Shared Earth Learning. “We work with those who haven’t had much success in formal education, who are facing mental health challenges and/or difficulties in their home lives. So when these young people say “I just love coming” and give Project Grow a 10/10 it really means a lot.”

Somerset Works helps schools and colleges to identify and support children who are at risk of not making a successful post-16 transition. Alex said “Somerset Works are very happy with the results of Project Grow so far, particularly in terms of participant engagement and feedback. The 100% attendance rate is an exceptional result. They will continue referring young people to Project Grow through this year and next.

Project leaders, Alex Hart and Sam O’Malley, are assisted by Jack, a young forest school leader, who’s working towards his forest school qualifications. He was part of the Edventure ‘kickstart scheme’ to build the Project Grow polytunnel and has since become an assistant to the teaching team. “He’s been amazing” said Alex.  

“The students have been ‘hanging out’ in nature, naming all the vegetable beds, planting peas and playing football. We’ve done river walks, spoon carving, campfire cooking, and made a mallet called Kevin. We also have ‘circle time’ at the start and end of each session, providing the safe space that these young people need.”


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