The aim of the day was for the students to understand the importance of community through the written word.
Alex Scott of Thriving Through Venture said: “Our group will expand their understanding of community when they travel to The Gambia on May 28 for one week.
“Here, they will complete their personal development journey by collaborating with their Gambian partners, young people of similar age, on a reciprocal exchange to understand each other’s cultures and what community means to them.
“Our aim is to bring back confident young people who have a stronger sense of self and a greater understanding of their place in the world.”
Newbury Weekly News and Guardian columnist Nicola Chester – author of award winning On Gallows Down: Place, Protest and Belonging, the story of a life shaped by landscape, by an enduring love of nature and the fierce desire to protect, honour and celebrate it – said: “It was a real pleasure and privilege to work in collaboration with the young people from Thriving Through Venture, and the fantastic community of volunteers that make Greenham Common such a unique, special and vibrant place. It means so much to so many.
“Writing and being outdoors in nature, learning the history of such an important and fascinating place, and really looking closely at a place through our own personal ‘viewfinder’ or lens, is a powerful and life-affirming thing to do.
“It’s great for our mental health, but also illuminates how we can be part of, or form our own community and understand others.
“It’s about making our mark and recording our place in the world. It brings about a sense of belonging and wellbeing.
“This was such a wonderful and uplifting collaboration between Thriving Through Venture, the staff and volunteers of Greenham Common and its Control Tower community. I thoroughly enjoyed it!”
The visit included a conducted tour of the Common by Nicola and the Greenham Tower and was followed by a writing workshop.
Nicola congratulated the students on their writing saying: “It was deeply thoughtful, reflective and moving. They made new connections of their own with all the stories and community of this very special place.”
Thriving Through Venture provides volunteer programmes for young people in the UK that stimulate positive shifts in their mindset.
The young people develop transferable practical and vocational skills, at the same time as having a positive impact on their local communities and other communities in developing countries.
For more information about Thriving Through Venture please visit www.ttventure.org or contact [email protected]
n Nicola Chester, who won BBC Wildlife magazine’s Nature Writer of the Year Award, writing about Greenham Common in 2003, is the longest-running female columnist for The RSPB (18 years), a columnist for Countryfile Magazine, writes the Nature Notes column in the Newbury Weekly News and is a Guardian Country Diarist.
She grew up alongside the internationally-known environmental and political battlegrounds of Greenham Common and the Newbury Bypass protests, has lived in a tied cottage on the Highclere Estate and is now a long-term tenant, nearby, in the North Wessex Downs.