Flower Pod, Newark

Completed: 2022
Location: Newark, Nottinghamshire
Region: East Midlands
Other local partners: GAP Tool Hire, Nottinghamshire County Council,

About the project

Having worked with students from The Newark Orchard School, supporting students with special educational needs, on our project at Vale View Summerhouse through the UK Community Renewal Fund* in partnership with Nottinghamshire County Council, second time round this was pretty special.


The project: 

They were looking for their own accessible outdoor learning area to bring students who have higher needs and/or in wheelchairs for the students to use, and now the students themselves have built just that from start to finish at Flower Pod, through learning and putting their carpentry skills to the test. This has been alongside young people with special educational needs from Reach, who run Flower Pod, supporting their young people through educational activities within this community space.

Reach have been battling a muddy garden area filled with weeds for over two years, simply wanting an area for their young people to learn and work doing outdoor, horticultural activities.

At the other end of the garden to Newark Orchard, we’ve created an outdoor learning area with benches and planters for Reach’s young people to use and learn in all year round, but especially in summer where it provides the only bit of shade for the garden for students to work in.

The young people: 16 local young people from Reach, the venue hosts, The Newark Orchard School who use this space for learning and a returning VIY youth partner, Inspire Culture . 7 Community Volunteers who regularly work/volunteer with Reach also volunteered on this project.

Hear from Josh, VIY young volunteer

The impact: 

“This is our second time taking part in VIY and it definitely won’t be our last! Over the two projects, our students have been given an incredible opportunity to work alongside the amazing VIY Mentors to build planters, benches and a summerhouse as part of a transformation to local community areas. They have developed not only their carpentry and horticulture skills. but a wide range of employability skills that will impact on their life-long learning.

“The confidence and skill progression in all students from the start to the end of the project has been phenomenal. Our students are often faced with a glass ceiling due to their additional needs, however these projects have instilled ambition and aspirations in each and every one of them, allowing barriers to be broken down.

“From a school perspective, the involvement in the projects have allowed us to achieve multiple work-related learning targets, including employer mentoring and work experience, which can sometimes be a real challenge to organise for our young people.

We cannot recommend VIY highly enough and hope that our relationship can continue for many years to come!”

Kate Fell, Teacher at Newark Orchard School 

Hear more from Kate here

We always welcome those looking to lend a hand and volunteer on our projects, whether it be through a trade or an optimistic attitude and life skills to share.  Please contact our Mentor Manager, Karen, via if you’d like to get involved in a project near you.


* You can find more information, on the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund here.

''We couldn't be happier with the work that has been done. The planters built at the top of the garden will make such a difference in summer allowing us to work outdoors, in the shade and this is now accessible for wheelchair users.'' Christine Daniels, Centre Manager, Flower Pod, Newark