Young people’s inspiration for Goldthorpe wildlife haven

A project to transform a rubbish strewn former railway embankment into a wildlife haven was got underway, having been kick started by young people on a fire and police led development course two years ago.

Young people on South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police’s Prince’s Trust Team Programme cleaned and painted three unloved bridges in Goldthorpe, Barnsley in 2016 as part of an award-winning community project.

The initiative helped to renew interest in the space, which had become blighted with flytipping.

Now work is underway to turn an area of disused railway embankments beneath the bridges into a new outdoor destination for residents and nature, after the Dearne Area Council Team established ‘The Railway Embankment Group’ in response to the frustrations of local residents.

During the initial stage of the project, architecture students from Sheffield University worked with residents to create a vision for the area.  The Railway Embankment Group and local volunteers meet regularly, and carried out litter picks and campaigns to clean up the area ready for the work to begin.  Pupils from Goldthorpe Primary School have made bird boxes and a hedgehog hotel for the scheme to encourage wildlife to the area, which will be placed at the site once the access route is complete.

The scheme is due to complete in 2019 and once finished the embankment will feature an orchard and wildflower area, with a new access route to allow people to get into the site. The site will be used for local environmental and wildlife sessions for all of the community to benefit. Interpretation boards designed by the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership will be installed to provide visitors with the history and facts about the site.

Princes Trust Team Leader John Daley, said: “This project is evidence of the lasting impact that young people completing our courses can have. I am proud of the legacy we left in this area, contributing to a renewed interest in an unloved community space.

“The mix of modern ideas for conservation combined with Goldthorpe’s industrial heritage are a breath of fresh air for this former unofficial tip and far from the original ideas which would have seen them disappear completely leaving nothing for the young people in the area to remember their proud heritage with.  The embankment team have worked tirelessly with other agencies to see this massive project take root and fired the imagination of everyone involved.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and South Yorkshire Police teamed up with the Prince’s Trust to deliver the Team Programme more than two years ago. During that time around 200 young people have benefited from the 12 week personal development course for unemployed 16 –to25 year olds, offering work experience, qualifications, practical skills, community projects and a residential week.

The courses are based at fire stations and are the only programmes of their type in the country to be jointly delivered by fire and police services. For more information or to sign-up, email princestrust@syfire.gov.uk

This content was last updated on July 17th, 2018