Young volunteers grow in the great outdoors

Community volunteers

A community garden at Harley Bank, Todmorden has been given a new lease of life by a group of hardworking local volunteers.  

The community garden and growing space was created some years ago and has recently been in need of some TLC. Thankfully help arrived in the shape of Calderdale Council’s Community Task Force Environmental Volunteers, who worked alongside local residents to spruce up the gardens by removing weeds and clearing debris to prepare the garden for new planting. 

The Community Task Force Environmental Volunteers are a group of young people from the Calderdale area who were not previously in employment or education. For 12 weeks they have been working as volunteers on environmental projects throughout Calderdale, gaining a range of skills in countryside management, construction and horticulture, and receiving valuable experience of the world of work. 

Their work at Harley Bank has been a chance for the volunteers to put their various new skills to the test on a big community project. 

The Council’s contractor AMEY LG also helped out, with volunteers from the company’s workforce repairing walls and re-laying broken paving flags throughout the week-long project. 

The week culminated in a Community Garden Party with cakes from local residents and street cooking by Incredible Edible Food. Local people filled growing beds with fresh soil ready for new planting, and made plans for the planting of vegetables, fruit and wild flowers. 

Community Taskforce Environmental Volunteer, Rob, said: 

“I would recommend the Community Taskforce work experience placement because it’s amazingly good fun, the supervisors are lovely people and the voluntary work will help you get a job.” 

Since the Community Taskforce scheme began in November 2013, over 30 young people have completed the course, and 75% have gone into jobs or apprenticeships. 

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Skills and the Environment, Cllr Jenny Lynn, said: 

“The Community Taskforce volunteers have done a great job at Harley Bank; not only have they helped improve a great community area, they have also learned useful skills. 

“The scheme has been really successful so far, with the vast majority of volunteers gaining employment or apprenticeships after taking part. I’m sure the next set of volunteers will be just as successful, enjoying their placement and gaining valuable work experience.” 

The Community Taskforce is managed by the Council’s Grow Your Future team, and applications are currently being invited for the next set of volunteers. The programme is open to anyone aged 16 to 24, living in Calderdale and not in employment, education or training.   

For more information contact Rosie Holdsworth, Community Task Force supervisor on 01422 392359 or email 

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