Our Youth Co-operative Action (YCA) programme in Plymouth, run in partnership with Real Ideas, has seen a group of 11 students from City College Plymouth work together to create an environmental garden promoting biodiversity and environmental impact. 

Following meetings with senior members of City College Plymouth and Plymouth City Council, the young participants have been given access to the empty space, allowing them to create bird feeders and planting areas. Inspired by local co-operatives and community business, the young participants created College Root Co-operative (CRC), and they are currently working with members of the wider community to create a long-term plan for the space. Their aspiration is to create an environmental garden open to all members of their community.  

Rose Hamlett, one of the YCA Plymouth participants and founder member of CRC, explained how the programme has made her think about the wider area around City College Plymouth and its residents. Together with her peers and inspired by the ways local co-operatives work and value their members, they started thinking about how the space can be developed into a garden that benefits those in the local community. In a true co-operative way, during our conversation, Rose mentioned how much she enjoyed “being able to share and listen to other people’s ideas about the space” 

“It’s been really interesting to see what people have come up with to transform the space, not only for their own benefit but for other people’s benefit as well”.

Rose Hamlett, YCA participant

About Youth Co-operative Action  

Delivered in towns and cities across the UK and supported by Co-op Foundation’s #iwill Fund, YCA is a participant led programme, underpinned with co-operative values, encouraging young people to develop their own solutions for issues that matter to them.  

Led by the needs of the young people and focused on teamwork, participants have met new people from their community, developed new skills and gained the confidence to tackle issues and make a real difference. Rose has also noticed a change in her mindset, “before (the programme) I was quite shy when it came to speaking to people, I hadn’t met... (YCA) has made me so much more confident with working with different groups”.  

More to Come  

The College Root Co-operative will continue developing the space with the support of City College Plymouth, local residents and Plymouth City Council, as their aspiration is to see members of the public using the garden and making it truly theirs. 

Rose also wants to continue developing the skills she has learnt through the YCA programme, and her plans are to continue the work she started as part of CRC. As for what she’d say to other young people thinking of joining YCA, “They should definitely do it! You get to be involved in loads of cool projects and work with different groups”.  

See what participants said  

Take a look at what CRC has achieved and hear from Rose below who talks about YCA and her experience.  

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