Another block of our Creative Pathways programme in North Ayrshire comes to an end this week; it’s been a hectic few weeks involving an incredibly successful showcase, the building and donating of a bench to a care home and a fantastic trip to Hazeldene Horticulture to learn about organic growing.
The group’s showcase event was held at Town Centre TV’s base at Bridgegate in Irvine. And a popular event it was – we were struggling to fit everyone into the hall, as the people turned up in numbers to see some wonderfully crafted work and pick up some unique items. The showcase took the form of a pop-up shop and items flew off the shelves, bringing in over £150 in just an hour-and-a-half – money that will go back into funding Impact Arts programmes.
After the highs of a successful showcase, there was an opportunity for the group to get their hands dirty – a day’s work at Hazeldene Horticulture was just the tonic. Hazeldene – based in Kilwinning, Ayrshire – operates a large organic community garden which, as well as growing several species of plants, flowers and vegetables – offers work and volunteer opportunities to people with disabilities.
The Creative Pathways team spent the morning learning about the importance of organic growing, different types of vegetables, before getting to work. The session was led by manager Robbie Gass, who put the young people through their paces, teaching them to re-pot and feed polytunnels full of plants. This was perfect for a programme that throughout has has been aimed at encouraging young people to make environmental changes in their community.
On the same theme, one of the highlights of the project was seeing the delight and joy on the faces of the residents of Abbeyfield care home in Irvine when the young people delivered a bench they had painstakingly built, sanded and varnished over the past few weeks. The young people had taken recycled wood sources from Glasgow Wood Recycling and built the bench in order to give something back to their community by environmentally friendly means. This lovely gesture was much appreciated by staff and residents alike, with everyone queuing up to have a shot.
Chelsea, 16, is one of the participants. She said: “We just wanted to do something for the local community. We hope that the residents at the care home can enjoy it with their families when they come to visit.”
On Creative Pathways, she says: “I’ve really enjoyed it, the tutors have been amazing and showed us how to do so much stuff. I’ve just found out I got a job and the workshops we did were quite useful for that.”
Irene, one of the residents at Abbeyfield, said “It’s a wonderful thing the young people have done for us. The only problem is the bench is going to be so popular – we’ll have to draw lots to get a seat!”
While working with artists Portia Velarde and Allan Whyte, the group have also been getting employability support from Opportunities Co-ordinator Maggie, and have developed a huge amount over the past few months. “We’re all very proud of everything they have achieved on the course,” said Allan. “We’re confident they will go on to great things in the future.”
The programme was funded by Skills Development Scotland, Inspiring Scotland, the Gannochy Trust and the Big Lottery Fund’s Our Bright Future intitiative, which backs projects encouraging young people to lead progressive and environmental change in their communities.
Impact Arts have a new block of Creative Pathways starting in Glasgow later this month. Find out more here.