Brandon youngster goes back to nature for charity

A YOUNGSTER from Brandon is among a group of young people who have been helping a cancer charity in Suffolk.

A YOUNGSTER from Brandon is among a group of young people who have been helping a cancer charity in Suffolk.

Gemma Clarke has been working at the Eden Rose Coppice in Sudbury, as part of the Synergy programme at West Suffolk College, organised for Prince's Trust Team members and students.

Eden Rose Coppice is part of Cancer Care with Nature, a charity set up by Rob Brooks to give cancer patients, their families, volunteers, caregivers and nurses an opportunity to escape, reflect and connect with nature.

After Mr Brooks lost his wife to cancer, he sold his house and bought a piece of woodland to create a private reflective space for people who have a life-limiting illness.

Sherry Fry, head of the College's Participation unit, said: “The young people have really embraced this project. Because of the nature of the charity, they have really engaged with it. Some of the cancer sufferers are children or young people.”

Students have already created a log store, made benches for seating areas and cleared pathways.

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People who use the woodland space are able to plant small gardens, and these need to be watered. Until now, volunteers have had to carry water from the one tap on site. Students have now installed six hand pumps around the site so there is always water close to hand.

The Prince's Trust programme offers exciting challenges which help build each student's confidence and motivation while increasing their skills and qualifications so they can progress to employment or a College course. The Synergy programme also helps young people prepare for the world of work or further training.

Eden Rose Coppice is the first site to be developed in the UK by the charity. The aim is to turn run down or unwanted woodland or meadows into conservation areas which have a positive effect on lives stressed by critical illness.

The site covers three acres of woodland with cleared, safe, natural walking paths and includes a pond area and wetland habitat where visitors can enjoy a calm, therapeutic and supportive environment.

The Eden Rose Coppice is maintained by volunteers. Mr Brooks aims to organise other fundraising events involving young people over the coming year.