Watch: Growing Forward video and see how working with nature is enriching the lives of many young people


The Growing Forward project is run by the Sussex Wildlife Trust with the aim of reducing offending and reoffending in young people by offering them an opportunity to acquire fresh perspectives and learn new skills in a natural environment.

Commenting on the project and the help it received from the PCC’s Safer in Sussex Community Fund ( SiSCF), Huw Morgan, Brighton & Hove project officer for the Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded a £5,000 grant which allowed us to run three courses, each lasting eight weeks.

“The Growing Forward project has really helped many troubled young people who feel isolated. Some are trapped in a cycle of addiction that can then lead towards a life of crime. The participants really benefit from engaging with nature in a structured environment, developing skills and confidence through training and team-work as well as a sense of belonging to the local community.

“Brighton residents benefited, as the programme of conservation tasks improved local green-space and involved the planting of wild-life friendly plants and shrubs, pond cleaning, restoring herb beds and building bird boxes.”

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said: “The Growing Forward project is a great example of an innovative local scheme that aims to make our communities safer by improving the lives of young people who may be caught up in a cycle of substance misuse; anti-social behaviour; vandalism and consequently suffer from low self esteem.”

Emma Speer from Brighton National Probation Service said: ”This is the first time that we have worked with the Sussex Wildlife Trust and have received very positive feedback from service users who have participated in the Growing Forward project. It has enabled them to learn new skills, meet new people and furthermore, it has provided structure to their lives. It also gives us the opportunity to work alongside our service users, engaging in pro-social activities. This serves to develop our working relationship with them and we get to see their achievements first hand, rather than be told about it in an office setting. This has been a fantastic project and we have been very lucky to be involved with it.’’

Mrs Bourne continued: “The SiSCF was launched in 2013 to help local voluntary and community groups tackle crime and improve community safety by providing financial support to projects and services that address the priorities outlined in the Police and Crime Plan. So far more than half a million in funding has been made available to over 100 community projects. This tells me local organisations and community groups care about – and are committed to – helping keep Sussex safe.”

Click here to view the Growing Forward video.

To find out more about the work of the Sussex Wildlife Trust click here.

For more information on grant funding from the Police & Crime Commissioner please click here.

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