Hull Youth For Christ
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Hope Grows

This summer we started turning the overgrown patch of dumping ground behind the parish hall into a community garden where people can grow their own fruit and veg. I have been volunteering at the youth club and the summer camps for a few years but it was a big step for me when the Hull YFC team asked me if I would lead a Lifestyle team (local summer scheme to get young people involved in improving their communities) over the holidays, to work on creating the garden. So, with help HYFC's Andy and support from Andy Paxton from 'Live Better for Less', I found myself responsible for a group of five young people and one young leader (Jordan, ex-youth club).

At first it was awful and I hated it because the project didn't seem to be going anywhere. I had been really enthusiastic taking it on, but it was a struggle to get the young people to put their fundraising ideas into action and we weren't getting much support from companies we had approached for donations. Worst of all, we just seemed to be getting mucky for no reason.

Then all of a sudden it all started coming together. A construction company (BAM) building a school in the Boulevard area generously donated a truckload of soil, huge amounts of water-permeable membrane and later 50 scaffold planks for making raised beds (they even provided gloves so the young people wouldn't get splinters!). A local firm (Westobys) donated some paint which we used to cheer up the walls with some murals and a local pub donated a pile of empty beer bottles which we used to build a beautiful glass wall to replace the broken fence at the entrance to the space. Lots of people got involved and after what seemed like endless clearing and sieving, the garden suddenly seemed to be taking shape.

It was nice to work with the young people more closely and get to know them better. Once I got over my muck phobia (Donna classifies all earth as dirt! Ed) it was also good to do something I wouldn't normally do and I felt proud to have been part of doing something that's making a positive difference in our community. I learnt that if I put my mind to something I can do it. I also learnt that youthwork is harder than it looks: getting young people to turn up, work together, not criticise each other, get / stay motivated, etc.; but it's also really rewarding and I'm so glad I did it.