Skill Mill - It's more than just litter and water management
Peter talks about his involvement in the inception of the Skill Mill and what it means to him.
My name’s Peter Glaves, I'm a lecturer at Northumbria University and I've been involved with the Skill Mill project from its inception. To me the Skill Mill has three interlinked meanings. It’s about benefiting the environment in terms of creating, managing and improving biodiversity habitats, helping protected species and the guys involved are doing real practical work within the locality on those areas.
Secondly, it has meaning in terms of the individuals involved, when you're looking at kids with the kind of background we’re dealing with here who are ex young offenders, been in care, some been in prison, the chance and the opportunity to get out of that cycle. And I think the Skill Mill offers for these individuals a chance to explore the underlying reasons that led them into those problems and a chance to offer them a route out of, and to explore and to lead into potential careers, a potential future and a potential re-engaging with the community and I think that’s the third meaning.
It’s about not just the individuals involved and their families but about the communities in which the work takes place. It’s about improving and helping local communities in terms of reducing flood risk, well, that obviously improves communities, less vulnerability to natural hazards. It’s about providing resources for the community, it’s managing their spaces it's improved access, pond dipping areas, access ramps, cleaning up, tidying sites in which they live and it’s also hopefully benefiting communities in taking these individuals who have perhaps become bit more outsiders because of their criminal behaviour and providing a link back into the community for those people. They’re seen to be doing hands on work. To me one of the most interesting was seeing local people coming to ask what these kids are doing; it’s not just a worker from the local authority, it’s a group of kids doing this and who are they and what’s it about? Actually, they're there, they’re doing something really positive, and that changes people’s mind, it reframes the idea that's there, and that's really quite significant.
The short answer I suppose is to me, it's about sustainability, it's about creating a different way, linking organisations together in a way that benefits people, environment, individuals. It deals with crime issues, it deals with flood prevention, it deals with nature and biodiversity, it deals with local communities and that's a great combination of things to say. So I'm really proud to be involved and I think it's an opportunity to make a difference.
The Skill Mill
A range of stories told by the young people, staff and partners involved with the Skill Mill.