Wild at Heart project

We have received  funding from The Homity Trust towards a new project called ‘Wild at Heart’. This project is a partnership between Strike a Light – Arts & Heritage, the Low Carbon Trust based at Brighton’s Earthship, and the Restorative Justice Department of Children’s Services, in Brighton & Hove City Council.

Our project will deliver a series of planned activities to take place at the Earthship based in Stanmer Park Brighton (The Earthship  was built as a community centre for use by Stanmer Organics, a Soil Association accredited site in Brighton) to deliver training and skills around the environment and local plant life and planting with a group of dedicated young probationers with community service hours to invest in supported learning.

The participants will engage with activities with various groups based at Stammer Organics (next to the Earthship) including the Permaculture Association Plot and Green Woodworking.

With this project, Strike a Light plans to support the community to:

  • Transform a local area
  • Create ownership for service users and the local community
  • Improve local community relations
  • Revitalise the area
  • Pass on creative skills and education
  • Encourage environmental awareness

Between January  and April 2018, this will involve the delivery of a mosaic mural to be situated on the front of the Earthship which will be designed and created through training and workshops with probationers, Probation staff, Low Carbon Trust members, and volunteers. The mosaic would showcase local flora and fauna and be the first sight as visitors enter the Earthship area in Stanmer Park.

We will run 12 weekly sessions at the venue in the park to support this restorative justice, as well as self-managed learning with the young people attending the activities.

We will provide guidance and support for both the Restorative Justice Team, and the participants to learn about local flora and fauna, offer ornithological talks by the South Downs National Park Authority, (also based at Stanmer Park), increase understanding of the heritage of the area, explore the principles of permaculture, and create a beautiful mural which will remain in the location as a testament to this project, and be enjoyed by all visitors to the area into the future.

A key tranche of this scheme will be training ten young offenders, as well as Children’s Service coordinators and Low Carbon Trust Directors and volunteers to learn about the medium of mosaic with the end result being a the participatory creation and installation of community focussed bespoke mosaic mural. This will be sited on the font of the Earthship building on a long term basis to promote sustainable ideals and environmental awareness, including the venue being part of the South Downs National Park.

These activity and learning sessions sessions will be facilitated by a creative practitioner and supported by the Restorative Justice Team who would be responsible for the subsequent health and safety and supervising behaviour.

The participants’ ages range from 10 – 18 years old, with the majority of these being between 13-18 years old. The young offenders are a mix of male and female, however the client base is predominately male. All of the young people live in the Brighton and Hove area and in a mix of in school, college, some form of education, employment or NEET (not in education, employment or training). They include looked after children, as well as those living with parents.

This venue was the first Earthship to be built in England. Earthship Brighton is an off-grid building that heats, cools, powers itself from the sunharvests its water from the sky and treats its wastewater onsite using plants. The venue’s focus has been spreading a positive message of climate change education and helping people to modify their behaviour to live with a lighter carbon footprint through the training and events it offers.

The aims of the Earthship Brighton since it was built 20 years ago, has been deliver a sustainable community centre in response to a genuine local need, change values in the construction industry and inspire positive action in individuals to generate environmental change through modifying people’s behaviour to less carbon intensive lifestyles. This resonates soundly with our project aims to engage with disaffected young people and support their understanding for community involvement and development to the point where they are engaged in a way that means they would be less likely to re-offend.

This project offers a new opportunity for engagement, lifelong learning and enjoyment, whilst offering participants, volunteers and staff the facility to support youth involvement and gain relevant sills themselves. This project will also allow volunteers to contribute their own ideas to the project in the form of the final mural design.

Outcomes from this project will be:

  • The youth offending community to feel a proud sense of ownership within their locality
  • Improving lock spaces that require renovation
  • Creating a locally based project combining creative arts and environmental themes.
  • A new bespoke mosaic mural supporting a colourful, safe community spaces

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