This Summer, Elaine, Woodcraft Folk’s Development Officer worked with a local partnership organisation (Hyde Park Source) to be part of a summer Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme for young people in Leeds under the charity’s Green Influencer scheme.
The groups played lots of games and enjoyed outdoor activities like painting raised beds, producing terrariums, creating seed bombs (renamed Seed Samosas), tried a zip line, made fruit faces, used a smoothie bike, built dens, learned some new dances and got stuck into lots of craft and creative projects. Everyone also ate breakfasts and lunches outside together creating a community feel. The young people particularly loved using flint and steel and birch bark to light a spark to start the rocket stove they cooked their lunch on.
Elaine helped the groups make veggie/vegan fajitas with homemade guacamole and on another day, French toast with homemade tomato ketchup (the secret according to Elaine is “maple syrup and cinnamon!”). It was almost everyone’s first time trying guacamole and it went down surprisingly well.
The young people did a brilliant job lighting the stove, cooking, serving and presenting the food with so much style it could have been on a cooking show. Elaine says that “Leeds has a delicious future ahead.”
The groups also went to Hyde Park Source’s Allotment for one of the days to pick their own herbs and vegetables and to help on the allotment. The allotment is managed by a group of adults who are in recovery and the children and the adults all had French toast together and some lovely chats.
One of the things that made this summer really special for the HAF group was that one of the members was from a refuge (none shown here). Elaine said “This meant the young people had a safe outdoor space to play, where they didn’t feel frightened or have to be quiet but can be loud and free. They made new friends, learned new skills, were valued, cared for and accepted just as they are. They also usually have very little space so the project gave them the skills and a place somewhere to cook outside and make lunch for themselves and their friends. It was also a space for their mums to be around new people and feel cared for and less alone.”
The project, filled with a summer of delightful activities enjoyed by all, was a wonderful way to include more young people in Woodcraft Folk’s offering and to share in radical kindness, social action, and spanning the world with friendship – all values close to the charity.