THE STORY OF GROW 19…
The staff at Five Acre Wood School nurture our children from the age of 3-19 years. Then what? There is little effective provision for them and it is easy for them to lose their direction and confidence that has been so carefully given to them over their years at FAWS. Our society is made up of scientists and bankers and astronauts and refuse collectors and librarians and artists and musicians and teachers and cooks and cleaners and taxi drivers and printers and designers and gardeners and shelf stackers and soldiers and engineers…everyone is valuable and everyone is needed. There is a place for every person and we need to ensure that our graduating students find their place.
Grow 19 was launched as a pilot project, by Five Acre Wood School in September 2018 with a grant from Awards for All. We wanted to create a post 19 provision that teaches skills:- Land based skills – gardening, pruning, weeding, planting, nurturing and harvesting; Functional skills – marketing the land-based skills, filling in forms and creating a CV; Workplace skills – the young adults work in a cafe, taking orders, preparing meals, clearing, learning about food hygiene, taking money for the food. We wanted to give our post 19’ers a sense of worth, build their self confidence and independence, give them a “can-do” attitude. We wanted them to be able to find their place in society. We applied to Awards for All for £9,600.00 to help fund the pilot project and were delighted to be awarded!
We worked closely with Communigrow on Grow 19. During the pilot project, students loved going to Communigrow and working with the staff and volunteers there. The students saw clearly the results of their work which gave wonderful feelings of satisfaction and a “job well done!” Click here to go to Communigrow’s Facebook page and see some of the amazing work they do.
Fast forward to September 2019 and Grow 19 is a recognised Further Education College for young learners (YLs) with SEND. There were 10 YLs on the project in its first year and it is growing and growing as the years go by. Firmly established at the East Malling Community Centre in Chapman Way, the YLs are forging their path at Grow 19 – figuratively and literally! The site enables them to work in the woodland, on the grounds, in a classroom and in a fully equipped professional kitchen.
They are also gaining valuable work experience at Maidstone Borough Council, at the Royal British Legion Village and other wonderfully supportive local companies. If you might be able to offer work experience to one of the YLs – please do get in contact with us firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE – SUMMER 2020…
Grow 19 is now a stand alone business, but as it grew from Five Acre Wood School, our Charity – The Friends of Five Acre Wood and Grow 19 – fund raises for it. They need many things…. but let’s start with two mobile classrooms for the site at the East Malling Community Centre and maybe go from there. If you can help, please contact the fundraiser Alexandra Meaders here!