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2022 at #BetterLivesCD

Wed, 28th Dec 2022

September 2022 marked 5 years since we opened our doors to young people at our first site in Castle Douglas. And what a year it’s been for our flagship project.

2022 had a great start for our Castle Douglas young people as we were awarded The Holywood Trust’s Peer Award, to start a community Garden at the community center which our young people have worked on throughout the year. They have organized planters and a seating area and even used part of the funding they received to buy a pizza oven!

January also saw the start of our weekly visits to BattleStations in Lochmaben, with a 6-week pilot Game Developer Course with the fantastic Derry. This bespoke digital experience benefited both our young people in Castle Douglas and Dumfries, as they learnt a variety of aspects of content creation such as streaming, videography, vlogging, and using YouTube. Our young people who took part had a great time in Lochmaben and came away with certificates of achievement for their new skills and showed off their videos in a Showcase.

Over February, we were lucky to have several sessions run by Abi Mordin as part of the Environment course. Abi Mordin is the Director of Propagate, a worker-led community of activists that specialises in food sustainability and works with organisations and groups to help them by providing opportunities to grow food, create vibrant greenspaces, and cook healthy meals using local produce. Over the course of the 3 sessions, Abi led activities for our young people on sustainable food growth, accompanied us on a trip to the Ethical Dairy, and helped the young people cook up some delicious locally sourced burgers.

Our lovely Dumfries team took some of our young people up to Glasgow in March to experience ACME Comic Con. Our young people really enjoyed this time away, and the chance to get to know the young people in Dumfries. During April we were delighted to have Jonny, one of our young people, start volunteering with us and leading a weekly fitness session. Jonny’s sessions have been a huge hit with the young people and the staff, as we worked up a sweat during his high-intensity circuits. We are really looking forward to starting back in the New Year after a Christmas full of delicious food.

In May, we took an overnight trip to Millport’s Field Studies Council on the Isle of Cumbrae. This was an amazing overnight trip during which we were able to further our learning for our Environment course. Some of our highlights of the visit were creating our own small mammal hotels which we placed around the ground of Millport FSC so we could investigate the small mammal population, taking a look inside FSC Millport’s catch and release Aquarium, and investigating micro-plastics on the beach. For many of our young people who visited Millport this trip has been one of their favorite parts of the year.

 Before we took a break for the Summer, a group of our young people were presented with certificated for completing their “Go Wild” Rural Skills Training. The young people volunteered at Threave estate and worked on the Threave Landscape Restoration Project, learning forestry skills to help preserve and nurture the landscape. We particularly enjoyed taking down the wire fences so that wildlife was able to freely roam the estate.

As part of this year’s summer scheme, we enjoyed a number of trips such as our visit to Crawick Multiverse, and to The Crichton for a Mostly Ghostly tour. We also had a taster afternoon of Circus skills when Martin and Kiera from Dougie’s Day came and showed us how to spin plates and balance feathers! And in September, we made it to Carlisle for our trip to Red Herring Escape Rooms after disaster had struck in the summer and our train had been canceled. 2 out of our 3 teams successfully made it out of their escape room in time!

We have had a wonderful Autumn with plenty of time spent on crafts and Halloween celebrations, with Sean winning our Pumpkin carving competition. And in November our Enterprise group launched their recipe book they put together and sold them at several local Christmas markets.

#BetterLivesCD is very much looking forward to seeing what adventures await us in 2023.

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