The community spirit is alive and well in Barking & Dagenham!

In July, 11 young people from Barking & Dagenham created a sensory garden for the residents of a local adult care home, the first of six Construction Communities projects, funded by the Mayor of London’s Young Londoner’s Fund.

Constructing Communities aims to inspire young people to reach their full career potential. The programme centres on young people designing and delivering a project for a local community partner. This project enables course participants to develop soft and practical skills, explore a variety of construction and built environment careers and meet potential employers, all while positively interacting with their local community.

For our July Constructing Communities, the group undertook the task of rejuvenating the roof top garden of the local Sahara Care Home. The group of 11 young men, all unsure of their next step on their career journey, designed and built a series of sensory boards that they installed in the roof garden. They also made a collection of wooden planters with inbuilt wooden seats for the residents to use.

The group was formed of a mixture of local year 10 and 11 students and the building project threw them together, testing their teamwork skills. For some young men it can be hard to negotiate a new group hierarchy and it takes maturity to be brave enough to form new relationships in a short amount of time.

The project was intense, with the group having to quickly process their new construction skills. There can be a frustration when you’re learning something new and you want to be immediately proficient, but the achievement is in taking the time to practise the skill and forgive yourself for your mistakes knowing that in time you’ll get the hang of it. The sense of accomplishment that is gained from completing a construction project is massive. The group were able to see their progression of skill across the two weeks, practically demonstrating to themselves that they can learn new skills and achieve a really good finished product.  

Being given the chance to do something for Sahara Care Home and finishing the work was very satisfying. Course participant.

By renovating the roof garden at the Sahara Care Home, the group were introduced to a collection of local residents that they weren’t used to interacting with. It’s really important for young people to have an appreciation of everyone within their community, seeing how different parts of their community fit together and may need additional support. It gives them an awareness of their local area outside of themselves.  

We’ve spent time with the students helping think about the best next step for them, whether that’s connecting them to a pathway in our industry or sign-posting them to other potential employers outside of the built environment. We look forward to keeping you updated as they progress into the world of work.