Groundwork GY was a week long event in Cleethorpes led by Mica, a young person supported by the IGNITE project

One of a series of articles looking back at some of the youth led projects that have come about in Cleethorpes over the years with support from the IGNITE programme. Victoria Russell who leads IGNITE shares the stories of these projects and if you’re now inspired to lead a project of your own then please get in touch with Victoria.

Introduction

In 2016, the IGNITE team were frequent fixtures at the local colleges of Franklin and the Grimsby Institute. In December of that year, two of the team walked into an A-Level sociology class at Franklin to speak with the students about volunteering, social action and the concept of creating their own event or campaign. Sitting in the class, was a 16 year old by the name of Mica Armstrong.

Mica’s idea was initially to set up a support network for young people who had been victim of sexual assault and violence; something which she did with the support of IGNITE and funding through the Humberside Youth Association and O2 Go Think Big. However, this was only the start of Mica’s journey.

Over the following year, Mica’s attention turned to raising of vegan bakery and held a series of ‘Pride of Plates’; essentially a vegan bake-off.

Since starting to receive support from IGNITE, Mica has been on Safeguarding and Protecting Children and has been on Emotional Resilience training and Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Mica then went on to deliver Groundwork GY which was an event based in the North Promenade area of Cleethorpes and Cleethorpes Beach, and supported by Moon on the Water, Ebb and Flo and Big Local North Cleethorpes.

The story of Groundwork GY

After months and months of solid planning, IGNITE project leader and Groundwork Youth Ambassador, Mica Armstrong (18) delivered on IGNITE’s largest event based project to date; 6 events in 6 days. Following the national theme set out by Groundwork, Mica, with the help of the IGNITE team developed Groundwork GY and a programme of events using six titles; Mindful Monday, Trashy Tuesday, Walk and Talk Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Festival Friday and Sport Saturday.

With the brief in mind of #InclusiveSpaces, Mica reached out to numerous organisations to see if they would help and support her causes. In addition to this, she successfully applied for approx. £1280 from the Humberside Youth Association and Big Local North Cleethorpes to help reach out to as many individuals as possible. Before going into detail on the breakdown of the events, we’d just like to say a huge thank you to Cameron, Jack, Paige, Skye and Theresa for volunteering across multiple days of the week and making the events run as smoothly as they did!

The 6 days started on Monday 23rd July with a picnic in Sidney Park, North Cleethorpes which doubled up as a Youth Mental Health Wellbeing Workshop which was written and delivered by Mica herself. Despite only expecting 4-5 individuals, a whopping 12 people attended. Mica took it all in her stride and delivered a fantastic workshop covering a wide range of topics including depression, anxiety, suicide, self-harm, psychosis and eating disorders. Due to the funding that Mica successfully drew down to run the project, the picnic played another role in enabling participants and volunteers to sample different kinds of food; in this instance, vegan food from the Riverhead Café. In talking about Mindfulness Monday, Mica says “It’s been extremely rewarding to talk about mental health openly… I have absolutely loved the challenge of speaking publically about mental health and challenging the stigma’s attached to it”. As part of her IGNITE project, Mica is a qualified Youth Mental Health First Aider and used her knowledge of this to create and give out her own booklets surrounding Mental Health and Well Being.

Tuesday saw collaboration between Groundwork GY and Ebb&Flo in Cleethorpes. Following the ‘Trashy Tuesday’ theme, Mica and an army of 19 volunteers armed with litter pickers and sacks took to the North Promenade Beach. Among the 22 bags of litter collected, a number of interesting items were procured. These included; a nappy, wet wipes, coat hangers, carpets, straws, socks and shoes!

The initial plans for Wednesday included employability and network stalls and stands upon which young people could attend to find out the desired skills employers would prefer when it came to future recruitment. However, on the morning of the event, a number of organisations pulled out citing a number of reasons. Que the IGNITE team. Not wanting to let anyone down or to waste Mica’s hard word, Victoria and Dan put on an impromptu young people as problem solvers workshops which had the young volunteers and participants create and design their own campaigns and projects for the area. Through doing this, IGNITE are delighted to announce that we have a new project and new project leader in Cameron! (16). More details on his activities will follow. Huge thank you to Moon at the Water for allowing us to use their facilities!

Throwback Thursday comprised of a day filled with compost, pollinators, herbs and fruit planting! With glorious weather beating down, volunteers young and old took to the car park of Ebb&Flo to plant 18 planters and countless flower pots as part of the intergenerational day. Grimsby Home and Discount Garden Centre certainly did Groundwork GY a service by supplying copious amounts of flowers, composts and planters at a discounted rate. Additional thanks go to Theresa for donating gardening gloves and trowels for the occasion. You can view the planters in their full splendour by dropping into the carpark.

What a day Friday turned out to be! Musicians, poets, artists and motivational speakers took to the stage in celebration of community with some performing on a stage with an audience for the very first time. Along with live entertainment, current IGNITE project leader’s Shaun (25), (#LongstripWildlife), with his ever so popular rock painting, and Andy Green (21), (#CountingHope) were invited down to showcase their own projects and charities. A local young entrepreneur, Skye (17) (#SkyetheClown), also had an opportunity to showcase her skills and did some fantastic glitter tattoos and face painting! Additionally, Mica offered Tarot Readings for those interested and another Pride of Plate bake off was held. For those interested, the Flapjack made by Jack Humphreys won the day with Jeff Hyland’s Chocolate Brownies coming a respectable second. Whilst it was unanimously agreed that the weather, particularly the thunderstorms, did put some people off, approx. 50 + people attended the day. Speaking about the day, Mica said, “This is what it’s all about. The community. Seeing so many people come together in one place is extremely rewarding. There’s so much talent here in the local community and it’s great to get out and celebrate it.”

Sport Saturday introduced a new term to the IGNITE team. Plogging. Plogging, as it turns out, is a cross between litter picking and jogging and encourages competition, keeping fit and keeping the streets clean. Starting outside the Barge, volunteers, again armed with litter pickers and bags provided by North East Lincolnshire Council this time, took to the streets of the town centre. Heavy rain early on meant that only a small handful of volunteers braved the storms but a huge 11 bags of rubbish were collected and included copious amounts of plastics, food wrappers and cans. In the spirit of competition, 3 £10 Riverhead Coffee House prizes were up for grabs. Cameron Warren (16) won the Under 25 solo picker of the day collecting 3 full bags of litter; Joshua Davies, whom was subsequently celebrating his 25th birthday on the day won the Over 25 solo picker of the day after also collecting 3 full bags of litter with the final family prize being collected by Jack Humphries and his spiritual partner for collecting a grand total of 5 bags between them. Speaking after his victory to Mica, Cameron said that with his voucher, he was going to treat his mother and sister to a hot chocolate at riverhead! Well done to all those involved.

When asked her motivations for the week, Mica said’ “After seeing and experiencing the boredom that young people can feel trapped by, I decided that it was time to start bringing my ideas into the physical”. IGNITE Youth Leadership Worker’s Victoria and Dan would like it noted and highlighted how extremely proud we are of Mica and all that she has achieved and how honoured we have been to have been invited to be involved in such an inspirational week. We would like to wish Mica well as she begins to look towards the future as she gets ready to depart for University life in Belgium.