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Thursday, 25 December 2014

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Green-fingered youngsters dig deep and learn

GREEN-FINGERED youngsters have celebrated the success of their very own allotment at Cleator Moor.

Over the past 15 months, members of the Green Fingers project have been learning new gardening skills and growing a range of vegetables.

The youngsters, aged between 12 and 15, displayed their home-grown produce at the allotments last week and celebrated their achievements with the community.

Neil Gregg, skills and development adviser at Inspira, said: “The idea of the group is to give young people who do not have the space or means at home the opportunity to learn and develop a range of skills connected to gardening.

“In addition we have been able to build the young people’s team work and communication skills as they have had to work together and organise themselves in order to achieve various objectives from each session we do.”

He said the allotment was given to Inspira by Cleator Moor Town Council with the promise that it would be used to introduce young people to gardening and growing vegetables.

Neil says the group has taken a piece of waste land and turned it into a useful and workable plot of land they are proud of.

Funding has been provided by the Cumbria Community Foundation to enable the group to purchase the equipment, resources and materials.

Work is being carried out to make the allotment fit for purpose so that young people from Cleator Moor and Copeland can continue to work and learn about gardening.

Neil said: “The young people have also been shown what community spirit is as they have had numerous donations from individuals and local groups, from tools and plants to greenhouses and compost bins, all of which have been greatly received and welcomed and we are extremely thankful for.

“The young people at this time of year are reaping the rewards because at the end of each session they are able to take a bag of freshly harvested vegetables home with them to enjoy with their families.”

He said organisers hope this project will be ongoing, adding that the young people are always putting ideas forward as to how and what else they would like to do as we move into next year.

The young people from Green Fingers have also been involved in the summer National Citizen Service. As part of this programme, one group worked with Cleator Moor charity Blue Skies, which helps people with stress, anxiety and depression.

The young people helped to create a workable allotment for the charity by making and filling raised beds and creating paths around the plot.

Neil said: “The young people worked extremely hard during the heat wave this summer and Blue Skies founder member and volunteer Joan Hully was full of gratitude for the work and assistance they did.”

The NCS programme will be running again in October and young people, aged 16 and 17, are being invited to take part.

For more information, contact Neil Gregg at Inspira in Whitehaven on 01946 695541.

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