Read an alternative view from Sarah Jane, about her involvement with The Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, another project kick-started by Our Bright Future.
To begin, tell us how you got involved in Our Bright Future.
My name is Sarah-Jane Smith, I’m 23 and live in Gloucestershire. I’ve been interning at the Avon Wildlife Trust and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Our Bright Future project for the past year, which I joined after I left university and wasn’t sure what to do next!
For over a decade I’d struggled with mental health issues, and used time in nature as my therapy. When I heard about the OBF concept I immediately wanted to get involved, and was very lucky to be offered the internship with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. Over the last year I’ve also been involved in the wider OBF programme, as a Youth Forum member and as a Youth Representative on the Evaluation Panel.
I am the interim project officer, so I work full time on the project. I am mainly based at Robinswood Hill in Gloucester, but teach two sessions in the community each week. These involve a variety of activities like building artificial animal homes, general gardening and planning the upcoming plastic campaign. When I’m not teaching, I do risk assessments, session plans and reviews.
For you, what is the highlight of working on this OBF project?
I love seeing what young people can achieve when they work together. I also love seeing what the participants go on to do after working with us- some have gone to university or college and others are now in jobs. Many of them are going into the environmental sector and want to continue the work they have done with us.
In your experience, why is this project important?
Along with the 30 other Our Bright Future projects, we are inspiring young people to change their lives as well as those around them. Wildlife therapy is a cutting-edge development and our project is helping to improve the mental health of a generation. We are teaching new skills that young people can benefit from for the rest of their lives.
So far, the project has been highly successful. We have improved more than ten sites, some of which have been at community centres, and at each of these sights we have increased the number of insects by using bee-friendly plants. Now, we are working on a project to send seeds collected from our sites to community members for them to plant at home.
But how to get involved?!
In case you missed the first part of this article, for more information on the project you can check out the OBF website, and if you’re interested in attending one of the session delivered by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (for 16-24 year olds), you can find them:
Tuesdays 2pm-4.30pm at the Our Bright Future Training Garden, 101 Queens Road, Priors Park, Tewkesbury.
Wednesdays 2pm-4.30pm at the Whaddon Youth Centre, Dart Road, Cheltenham.
Fridays 1.30pm-4.30pm at The Redwell Centre, Redwell Road, Gloucester.
To see a video featuring Sarah Jane and the team click here.