12 Teens from Barnsley rolled up their sleeves contributing 400 hours to transform a local pond to make it sustainable for wildlife and an attractive space for local people to enjoy.
The group, who call themselves ‘The Pond Protectors’, only met 3 weeks ago after spending part of their Summer on NCS (National Citizen Service), a youth programme for teenagers aged 15-17.
As part of their time on NCS, the group planned and delivered a social action project in their local town. The group found that they had a shared passion for improving the local environment and so contacted South Area Tidy Team to support a project that they run.
This is where the team name ‘The Pond Protectors’ was born as the group made the decision to clear up Milton Top Pond. Harvey Kitchen,16, a member of The Pond Protectors said;
“”Our group is passionate about the environment because we all care about wildlife hence why we wanted to support Tidy Team and clear a pond which prior to us helping was driving wildlife out of their habitats”
400 hours of volunteering was spent strimming the banks and clearing the area of weeds and brambles to eventually fill a truck of garden waste. Finally, with the money they raised through bag packing at their local supermarket they bought houses to support the local wildlife.
‘The Pond Protectors’ group was made of teenagers from different schools in Barnsley which included; Horizon Community College, Penistone Grammar School, Barnsley Academy and also Dearne ALC. Harvey went onto say;
“It was very easy to make friends with each other and to talk to everyone in the group, we all got along and our teamwork was outstanding!”
“NCS was such a fun experience because amazing activities that we did during each week like raft building, self-defence training and raising money for our social action project.
“Alongside that, NCS helped me break out of my shell more, be more outgoing and made new friends on the way. NCS has taught me a lot about the community I live in as well develop my skills like public speaking.”
Martyn Hall, Team Supervisor, from the South Area Tidy Team is delighted with the impact The Pond Protectors have made in just a week:
“The fantastic improvement these young people have made is here for all to see. We’ve had numerous residents contacting us to make their appreciation known.
“The support from the local residents both with time and contributions will continue to help all involved to make this an enjoyable space for ALL for the future.
“We very much hope to carry the momentum by getting people of all ages and abilities to continue to care for this wonderful space”.
Over 2,000 teenagers in South Yorkshire have taken part in NCS this Summer to challenge themselves, meet new people and to give back to their local community. For more information visit www.NCSYES.co.uk