Young gardeners enjoy seeing the early fruits of their labour

Wild garlic in the Sidmouth Youth Centre garden

Wild garlic in the Sidmouth Youth Centre garden - Credit: Emily Sethi

We’re getting into the spirit of spring here at Sidmouth Youth Centre.
Seeds that were sown during our small youth group sessions back in October have started to sprout up in the centre’s garden. They were planted by our Year 6 and 7 members in their first foray into gardening.
It’s been lovely sharing this progress and success with them. Some amazing crops of garlic, grown from bulbs, and wild strawberries are appearing; delicious! We’ve also had some beautiful tulips growing in the front lawn that have added a cheerful splash of colour as people arrive to the building.
For me, spring echoes the excitement of new beginnings, and being able to finally open up Sidmouth Youth Centre doors to young people; to be welcoming back young people we’ve known for a long while, and inviting new young people to try out the centre for the first time. 
We have intermediates on a Tuesday evening (Year 8 - 9), seniors (Year 9+) on a Wednesday and on a Friday our youngest members (Year 6 - 7). 
So far, our young people have enjoyed playing games outside, like dodgeball and hockey, and taking part in activities inside, including bracelet making, ping pong and pool (of course!) 
It is wonderful to witness the reconnection between friends, and budding new relationships; not just among young people but also within our wonderful team of Youth Workers and Volunteers, who are ready and excited about having all the meaningful conversations they can get with our youth!  
It has been a challenging year, but one that has taught us all a lot about Youth Work; specifically, how to adapt and flex to ever-changing conditions. We have developed new avenues for delivery, such as detached and outreach work, and a lot of this we plan take forward into our regular programme. The small group work sessions will remain a feature of our open access evenings, as we have seen this providing a useful engagement space; a quieter, more focused time for young people that might feel nervous about attending or getting involved in the bigger activities. 
Like our budding garden, the team at Sidmouth Youth Centre are excited about what’s to come in the next few months, as well as enjoying the return to some consistency, and offering some reliable conditions for new growth.

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