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Spring has sprung!

Building and Maintaining Strong Partnerships across Rhondda Cynon Taff

Spring has sprung! Covid-19 restrictions are ending, the days are getting longer, and life is looking up! Our Skills and Wellbeing team has been harnessing this positive energy by providing some much-needed outdoor activities through our Take Charge project.

Tree Planting with Coed Caerdydd

Take Charge has been liaising with Coed Caerdydd, who are fantastic at working with our participants. They aim to improve biodiversity in the Cardiff area with their 10-year programme to increase the number of trees in Cardiff, supporting the city’s One Planet climate change strategy.

We wanted to provide our participants with this excellent opportunity to learn about sustainable development. Start with helping fight climate change, and be a part of their excellent tree planting and teamwork skills!

We have attended many Coed Caerdydd’s tree planting sessions across Cardiff with Take Charge participants. Between us, we have planted thousands of trees.

Further Learning

Our aim is to further our participants’ understanding of why these sustainable development-themed activities are so important. We have provided our participants with the opportunity to learn about biodiversity in a group Zoom session. Our fun, interactive session, titled ‘Boosting Nature Biodiversity Quiz’, covered the importance of preserving wildlife and improving biodiversity. The quiz cemented our participants’ understanding of the need for sustainable action like Coed Caerdydd’s tree planting programme.

This session also allowed participants to think for themselves about ways they can help promote biodiversity. Our participants noted that they thought litter picking and tree planting were great ways to achieve this. Participants must realise why they are participating in these activities.

Actively Including Participants

Our participants all have work-limiting health conditions and are currently unemployed, making them one of the most disadvantaged groups in our community. Providing them with the opportunity to improve their soft skills and to learn about sustainable development is excellent for their well-being. Take Charge is an Active Inclusion project that aims to allow people to move closer to employment, and demonstrating these skills helps people do this.

Another advantage of litter picking and tree planting is the feeling of achievement. Our participants often report to us that they feel accomplished after they have completed physically demanding outdoor work. Getting out of the house and being at one with nature benefits everyone. In fact, “Give to others” and “Be Active” are two of the NHS’s recommended ways to improve well-being.

Looking Forward

These supported activities allow our participants to exercise and meet new people. Teaming up with organisations such as Coed Caerdydd and Keep Wales Tidy give our participants the highly valued opportunity to mix with their community and to feel less segregated. Forming new connections with like-minded individuals helps our participants feel included and respected within their community.

We will be working with Coed Caerdydd in the future and have been providing them with feedback so we can improve our participants’ experiences with tree planting. We are always looking to increase accessibility. Sharing feedback between organisations helps facilitate this. As this is a 10-year plan, we hope to have many more successful volunteering sessions with them in the future.

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