NCS Participants get green-fingered to transform sensory garden at Herd Farm

Young people attending Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Autumn National Citizen Service (NCS) programme have helped to transform a sensory garden at Herd Farm Activity Centre in Leeds.

The group of youngsters reaffirmed their commitment to making a positive change in their local community by revamping the sensory garden as part of their week on NCS.

Their efforts to clear the sensory garden of the overgrowing weeds and debris which had previously rendered it out of bounds have now turned it into a beautiful, welcoming retreat that is fully accessible and provides a wide variety of sensory experiences for visitors.

This social action project was part of the week-long Autumn NCS programme delivered by the Foundation, which saw 25 young people from across the city take part in outdoor activities, develop life skills such as teamworking and resilience and undertake voluntary work to help their local community.

One member of the group, Thiago said: “We’ve spent the week working together to clear out the sensory garden and make it more accessible to visitors as during the lockdown period it became pretty overgrown.

“I’ve not really done much gardening before but the staff have guided us through it and I’ve enjoyed just about everything we’ve done.

“It’s great to help people where we can during these difficult times. To be honest, it boosts your ego and makes you feel good about yourself.

“Before I did NCS I wasn’t the most confident speaker but after doing this I feel a lot more confident with speaking up and communicating to the group which is great.”

Having been left in need of some TLC since last year, the work of the teenagers to rejuvenate the sensory garden has been a huge help to Herd Farm. Site Warden Paul Prince was delighted with the outcome and thanked the young people for all the hard work they put in.

“I think it’s absolutely fantastic to see young people dedicated to making a difference in their community,” said Prince.

“We’ve had some miserable, rainy days out there but they’ve all rolled up their sleeves, put on their waterproofs and got stuck in. They’ve been self-motivated from the start and it’s been great to see them all supporting each other.”

“They group has done a fantastic job and we’re really proud of them for what they have achieved at Herd Farm this week.”

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Watch the video below to check out some of the fantastic work carried out by participants on our Autumn NCS programme at Herd Farm Activity Centre: