A group of young teens from Barnsley recently set out on a project with the aim of spreading mental health awareness as well as doing their bit to help out the environment.
The project, named, ‘Roots of You’ was part of their NCS experience with Reds in the Community over the summer. NCS is a 2-week experience, where young people meet new people, take on exciting challenges and complete a social action project, allowing them to impact their local community.
The group were undecided on two passionate topics, raising awareness on mental health or helping the environment. After some planning, the group decided to merge the two areas into one project.
Abi Grant was involved in the ‘Roots of You’ project and commented:
“We chose the project because we felt that mental health is such a huge part of our lives as teenagers, and we understand that people are often scared to share their issues, so having by creating an anonymous way to help people let go was really important to us.”
With the green light given, the group came up with the idea of holding special booths in Barnsley town centre, using their innovative idea to combine both topic areas.
In the booths, members of the public were encouraged to write any stories or ongoing worries involving their mental health on special plant-seeded paper. The young people then planted the seed-paper at Deansgate Care Home, using planters that they had built and painted.
“We got so many responses from people our age saying how much better they felt after sharing, and how the idea of growing something negative into something beautiful through the seeds planting, gave them a huge amount of comfort. I was so glad I was able to help.”
“Some of the admissions we got were quite heavy, but that was honestly the most amazing part, as people felt ready to let go of those feelings and allow us to create something meaningful out of it. I felt so privileged to have been able to help people around me in such a big way.”
As well as planting new seeds, the young people also supported the overall renovation of Deansgate Care Home to make it a much nicer space for the residents to enjoy.
Not stopping there, the group decided to use their techy-savvy expertise by creating a Google Document and a TikTok page, encouraging further members of the public to get in touch with them and spread their stories. The group found it be a popular choice for anonymous people wanting to share their own experiences.
Leonie Hudson, NCS Coordinator at Reds in the Community had the following to say:
“The group picked this project because members in the group had varying experiences with local mental health services, and they universally agreed that sometimes just telling your story can lift a weight off people’s shoulders. They were incredibly passionate about this idea and they hoped that it would allow people to tell their truths without fear of judgement.”
“The impact was two-fold, the group allowed the community to vent, knowing their stories would be planted and eventually bloom. But they also had a real impact on the residents of Deansgate Care Home, who now have a lovely garden area to relax in.”
Click here to read about how more young people on NCS have been transforming themselves and their communities.