In 2020, amidst the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions throughout Wales and beyond, volunteering adapted to be able to continue supporting local communities.
One such organisation was Abergele Community Action, (ITACA) who with the collaboration of some of their current young volunteers, proposed a Castle Clean-up project, at Gwrych Castle Preservation Trust and put forward an application to the Youth Led Grant Fund, to achieve this.
They were successful in their bid, and the youth members who accessed Youth Shedz held at Abergele Community Action, who previously had not had an opportunity to volunteer in their local community, also came aboard. It was of great benefit to them to coordinate a team effort to volunteer and make a difference in the community. They needed support in the organising and coordination of the activities but rose to the challenge as the impact of Covid-19 meant that the project now was going to be delayed.
Together, they introduced new ideas to volunteer involving practical activities that everyone could participate in at one level or another. These activities continued to benefit not only the local community but the young volunteers themselves, as they went about improving the parks and garden areas. It developed a sense of ownership of the local community but also contributed to their self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of purpose at a time when there was so much uncertainty.
‘I was made very welcome and even though I was very quiet and shy I enjoyed the different activities and making new friends! Starting to feel more ‘normal’ and independent, it has been more than just a fun place to go, it’s been my lifeline to what can be an amazing life. It made me see the possibilities and made me dare to dream for the future’.