Young people on NCS rejuvenate school garden for local a school

Port Vale Foundation Trust’s (PVFT) young people have been making a significant impact upon themselves and within the community, as they carried out a project at their local school with the aim of increasing student socialisation and their mental health, through renovating a school garden.

As part of PVFT’s NCS programme, young people decided to carry out their social action project at Watermill school, where they attended as students. Watermill school is one of three SEN schools within the local area where PVFT deliver their NCS programme, in which the young students involved within the project have special educational needs.

The group worked immensely on creating a more aesthetically pleasing garden for the school and themselves, allowing the it to be a place where students could relieve any stresses and relax.

For the success of the project, the group decided to use their creativity and organisation skills, as they split the group up into smaller sections, dedicated to specific tasks.

For one of the tasks, the young people weeded and re-dug the area, creating a prettier space. Flowers were also planted, where water features were installed, powered by solar. Also, along this area, young people created a positive stone, featuring positive words, images and messages along with the names of the young people involved, which were permanently engrained onto stones. The main idea for this was to leave a lasting legacy that the Watermill Year 11 young people had during their NCS experience.

Other tasks involved creating a ‘bug hotel’ sanctuary for insects, digging out a flower bed and planting new seeds, re-painting a shed, cutting the apple trees and improving the general overall aesthetics of the garden.

Misbah Mahmood was one of the dedicated young people involved within the project, and had this to say about the experience:

“I really enjoyed my NCS experience and I learnt lots of new skills I would never have learnt. NCS has been really fun and I will miss doing the programme each day!”.

The project generated a massive impact upon the school, its garden, its students as well the young people involved, as they also benefitted greatly from the project, developing new skills, new friends and a stronger mentality through their hard endeavour. NCS Changemakers with PVFT will continue to monitor and improve the school garden in the long-term and uphold the legacy of the project created by the young people involved.

Paul Kirk, teacher at Watermill School had this to say about the legacy of the project:

“The NCS programme has had a huge impact on the social, emotional and cognitive development of our pupils. We have seen the pupils clearly develop their communication, teamwork, problem solving and leadership skills amongst many others. Our young people now often refer to their NCS skills and experiences as some of the highlights of their school life”.


The hard work and dedication from all the young people involved at the project did not go unnoticed by Watermill School, as the school hosted a special NCS Graduation Day for all the young people the be acknowledged and congratulated on their project.

NCS Project Lead at Port Vale Foundation, Jorgie Wallace, has this to say:

“The young people were amazing on the NCS programme, and they really did exceed all of our expectations. Throughout the 2 weeks, young people all pulled together to work as a team and demonstrated various different skills which they can use going into their future.”

 “As a staff team, we really enjoyed working with the young people, they kept us on our toes and definitely left a lasting legacy with their social action project. The young people are all a real asset to the school, NCS and Port Vale Foundation. The Graduation allowed us to celebrate all the success of the young people and recognise all their hard work on this once in a lifetime opportunity.”