Friday 1st September, 2017

Helping with the Copse

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Young people get their green hands dirty to help grow community space in Great Shelford

Over the past year, there have been encouraging signs of growth in Great Shelford - and local young people have been at the heart of it.

Ollie O’Meakin, Romsey Mill’s Lead Youth Development Worker, works in partnership with local youth organisation Shelford and Stapleford Youth Initiative (SSYI). 

Together with SSYI, Ollie established a Youth Action Committee (YAC), made up of local young people, who wanted to use their skills to put something back into the community and bring about positive change. The opportunity to do just that arose when a local Playscape Committee was set up to redevelop the recreational ground on Woollards Lane, in Great Shelford.

The Playscape Committee listened to the YAC and their ideas and invited them to redevelop a specific wooded area, by the river, that was overgrown with stinging nettles, thorns, falling branches, making the whole area inaccessible.

The YAC decided to take on this project, which has become known as “The Copse Project”, to transform the overgrown copse into a natural play space with woodland trail, to encourage more outside play whilst increasing biodiversity, and interest for walkers too.

The team was physically able to begin the work from February 2017, enabled by the support of the local community, Great Shelford Parish Council, SSYI and Romsey Mill.

Ollie said: “The young people have been amazing and have done the majority of physical hard graft themselves. They have made bird boxes to go into the trees; marked out the extension of the copse, grown the new meadow; planted shrubs and bushes; built a living willow den and pathways.”

He added: “They have significantly transformed the Copse from an inaccessible, overgrown area to a playful, nature enhancing and community pleasing environment.”