Project championing young people funded through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

Posted on: Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Volunteer students at Newark Orchard School have undertaken a community improvement project led by Volunteer It Yourself (VIY).  Supported by Newark and Sherwood Council, through funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the project will provide practical skills for young people between the ages of 14 and 24.


Students have been working hard with Volunteer it Yourself to create a sensory garden at the school site in Balderton, Newark on Trent. The new garden will allow the school to combine learning with the outdoors as well as create a space that the students can enjoy. 

Together, VIY and the students have transformed this previously under- utilised space, working hard to prepare the surface to install hardcore pathway around the perimeter and in the centre of the garden.  The students also built bespoke seating and child-friendly planters in the garden, ensuring this fully accessible space can be enjoyed by all students.

The project has enabled the young volunteers to develop vital new skills and accreditations that can help them pursue a future career or interest, in addition to providing students at the school with valuable space that they can take pride in. It is expected that the garden will be finished in the spring/early summer 2023, following the completion of the final stages of work that are currently in progress.

The project is able to go ahead with the support of funding received from Newark and Sherwood District Council as part of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Volunteer It Yourself is an organisation that challenges young people to regenerate community spaces whilst learning new vocational skills. Their projects support local young people aged 14-24 by equipping them with employability skills and qualifications, including City & Guides accreditation. Learners are mentored by professional tradespeople and projects are developed through engagement with the local community to identify improvements that will benefit local residents. Further details about VIY can be found here:

Matt Lamb, Director of Regeneration and Growth at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a group of young people to learn vital skills, gain experience and work towards qualifications. It’s crucial we continue championing and supporting the younger generations in finding a meaningful career they will enjoy. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished garden in the spring / early summer.

“Newark and Sherwood District Council is keen to maximise every opportunity to apply for central government funding which enhances our district for the benefit of our community. We remain committed to doing all we can to make our district an even better place to visit, love and work.”

Kate Fell, Careers Leader at Newark Orchard School, said: "This project has been ongoing for the last 2 years and through the support of VIY and Newark and Sherwood District Council, it has finally started to come together! It has been a privilege to watch our students work with the incredible VIY mentors to develop in confidence and skill and prove to themselves that they can make a real difference to our school community. Our new sensory garden will provide a crucial space to allow our students to learn beyond the classroom walls. We can't wait to get it finished!”

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is providing £2.6 billion of new funding that local authorities were able to bid for and invest in their districts and boroughs by March 2025.

In December 2022, it was announced the District Council had successfully secured £3.28m to allocate to eligible local organisations. More information can be found on the Newark and Sherwood District Council website: