A summer of youth engagement across the Tame Valley Wetlands
Young people tend to get a bad rep in the summer holidays. “They’re always hanging around, making trouble” goes the old familiar complaint. Yes, some young people do hang around, some do make trouble and some make lots of noise and disturb their neighbours. But to tarnish all young people with the actions of a few is deeply unfair, and is stereotyping at its worst.
Here at the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme, we have been lucky enough to have an incredibly busy programme of youth engagement this summer, with no fewer than 132 young people putting in almost 500 hours of volunteering around the Tame Valley Wetlands scheme area in the Midlands – and the summer isn’t even over yet!
Making trouble? Far from it! Making haystacks is more like it!
There have been two waves of participants from the National Citizen Service in Tamworth, delivered by Uprising Birmingham and they got stuck in on the hottest days of the year to remove invasive Himalayan balsam, plant reeds and rake up grass on a meadow to encourage the growth of wildflowers. One group even went a step further and organised an event to raise much needed funds and awareness for the Tameside Wildlife Conservation Group.
We have also had sessions with our regular youth groups, CareFirst in Tamworth and WCAVA from North Warwickshire. These groups are made up of young adults with additional needs, and have been visiting sites across the scheme area in order to explore their local spaces and contribute to the conservation of the areas.
Our own youth volunteering group, TameYouth, also had a great morning at Wigginton Park one Saturday removing old tree guards from an established hedge. Even though the group spent most of the time hidden under the hedgerow, the sudden appearance of tree guards being flung out from the greenery needed a warning sign to passing dog walkers!
The commitment and enthusiasm shown by the young people this summer has been staggering. Through conversation and discussion we’ve heard about how young people want to gain work experience, that they want to learn new things, spend more time outside, explore their local area more…does this sound like a lazy teenager to you? These young people are the ones who will be growing up to make waves in the world. We should all be encouraging their interests and talents, and at the Tame Valley Wetlands, we are proud to be doing just that.
Be a part of the Tame Valley Wetlands team! Join one of our volunteer groups today – it’s just a click away! – *Next TameYouth session is Saturday 10th September!!*