Project name: Milestones

Lead organisation: Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Project partners: Community First (Youth Action Wiltshire and SPLASH), Wiltshire Early Help Service (Youth Offending Team, Reparation Team, Prevention Team, Youth Inclusion Programme), SWITCH/Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire Community Rehabilitation Company, Reading University, Canal and River Trust, Swindon Academy

Project summary:    

To connect vulnerable and marginalised young people aged 11-24 to their local, natural environment by offering opportunities to participate in practical activities and widen their knowledge and appreciation of local green spaces and nature reserves. Training and accreditation are an integral component of Milestones, offering opportunities to enhance employability.

The overarching theme of Milestones is building trust and fostering an appreciation and connection with the environment.  This approach has been shown to have beneficial effects on well-being, behaviour, social integration and the creation of new and improved community green spaces.

The project will scale up and replicate proven models of youth engagement activities for vulnerable and marginalised young people, for example, those with specific learning difficulties, those at risk of exclusion, those who have been excluded, young carers, NEETs, young offenders and those engaged with the probation services.  Reading University will evaluate findings to enable the sharing of long-term lessons. 

Project outcomes:

  • 1,600 vulnerable and marginalised young people have a greater awareness and understanding of nature and their local environment, and improved self-esteem and aspiration
  • 30 high-impact, young-person led environmental projects have been completed, including conservation work on nature reserves, the building of community gardens and setting up of community cafés
  • At least 60% have gained training or accreditations, and with this are more resilient, and better equipped and trained to be actively involved in improving and contributing to community green spaces and the green economy
  • 10% of the young people are trained and acting as Mentors to inspire others and lead future community projects
  • Reports and academic papers are produced and widely disseminated to share best practice and inform thinking and policy.

Primary counties working in: Wiltshire, Swindon Borough Council

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