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28 November, 2016

New polytunnel helps young people get their lives back on track

North Yorkshire Police and Crime commissioner Julia Mulligan joined young people enjoying new horticultural activities at a York education scheme, thanks to a £6,000 grant from her Community Fund.

The grant has enabled the Joseph Trust to buy a polytunnel and a number of raised plant beds at its base at Sutton on Derwent.

The purchases are designed to extend the range of horticultural activities the charity can offer the children in its care – including enabling them to do gardening activities in the rain and during bad weather.

The Joseph Trust provides educational activities to children aged between 11 and 15 who are at risk of losing their way at school or who are working to return to mainstream school after a period in specialist provision.

Children usually spend a day a week at the project and do a range of activities which also include woodworking and engineering.

polytunnel2Manager Dan Beech said: “We tailor activities to meet the needs of each, individual child. Ideally we like them to work in groups. But sometimes that isn’t possible and then we offer one to one support and mentoring.

“Our focus is to improve children’s behaviour and we have a great success rate with 60 per cent of our children either managing to remain in mainstream schooling or getting to the stage where they can return to mainstream education after a period elsewhere.”

Julia said: “The Joseph Trust is doing a great job supporting these students and even on a lovely day like today you can appreciate straightaway the benefits of having a sheltered polytunnel to do horticultural activities in.

I am pleased to see the Community Fund helping to make such a difference to these young people.”

The Community Fund was launched by Julia in May 2013 and is specifically for organisations and community groups who need money to help fund a new community safety project.

Projects eligible for grants from £500 to £20,000 include extra-curricular activities for children and young people as well as schemes supporting victims, preventing crime or anti-social behaviour, promoting safety and community cohesion.

Julia said: “I want to make it as easy as possible for people to apply for this money and to be successful in their applications.

“Anyone interested can call the Community Fund Helpline for guidance by calling 101 and asking for Community Fund.

“You can also visit my website at northyorkshire-pfcc.local/communityfund where you can see more examples of how the Community Fund has been used to benefit communities”