Trustees, volunteers and friends of Roots were all in attendance to discuss the progress made over 2010-2011 and show future plans for what is an ambitious and rewarding development for the charity.
Chairman Timothy Haywood began the meeting with acknowledging all the young volunteers and voluntary community partners whose achievements and hard work in the past year have helped make Worcester Roots a success. As a youth led charity Roots relies on the hard work of young people volunteering in their spare time, and the past years success has depended on their efforts and ideas. Assisted through the youth-steering group The Wombles, each young volunteer produces a personal development plan and has input into the design for the programme of activity each year. The ideas and opinions of The Wombles are at the forefront of the trustee’s decision making process and make Worcester Roots an almost entirely youth-led charity.
Recognition was made of the number of fundraising, awareness raising and educational activities performed by Worcester Roots this last year. These included engaging the local community on environmental issues, hosting workshops at the local Eco-Schools conference, participating in the national Climate Week Challenge, and producing an EcoToolkit for dissemination amongst local businesses and Schools as a resource for raising environmental awareness. Fund raising events included a sponsored bike ride and ‘Hug a Bee for 50p’.
Specific achievements recognized included the fantastic report that a number of Roots' volunteers had completed over 100 hours of community volunteering. Tash Giaquinto, The Hive’s project co-ordinator, won a ‘Top 50 Green Leaders’ award from Sustainability West Midlands, whilst Daisy Haywood achieved a Worcestershire County Council Tryangle Award and a V National Youth Award.
One of Worcester Roots's main focuses over the past year was the development of an Earthship, and was given considerable acknowledgment at the AGM. Present were David Prendergast and Joshua Takoka, two trainee architects from the County Council who have been helping in the design of the building. David gave a talk to the attendees on his experiences with Earthships in Thaos Mexico, explaining the techniques used in creating such centres and discussing how they can be used in the development of Worcester Roots' own Earthship.
The presentation was part of a review of the large amount of work done by Roots volunteers on the Earthship over the past year, including research and workshops on the design and the renewable energy technologies to be used within it. Highlights included keynote speakers bringing the science of renewable energy to life, and a Q&A session with experts offering their expertise on low carbon building options to volunteers. Attendees at the meeting were treated to a virtual walkthrough of the design and the future plans for the Earthship in the coming year.
To end with, the AGM discussed future plans for Roots, including the trustee and volunteer teams putting together a funding bid for a large portion of the construction costs of the Earthship and submitting a planning application. It is intended that the development process of the Earthship will provide a wealth of opportunities for young people to learn and increase presentation, team-working and communication skills alongside experienced professionals. Fundraising events proposed for the coming year include a recycled art auction. Such project opportunities aim to see Worcester Roots Foundation grow as a charity with a vibrant and diverse community of volunteers.
As an example of the future of Roots, attendees got a sneak peek of the EcoAngels project, an eco-pantomime produced by The Wombles and volunteers in collaboration with an experienced script writer and drama-teacher. The preview was hugely entertaining and promises to be quite a spectacle when it is performed in the Spiers Theatre at Worcester College of Technology on the25th of November 2011.
What was most striking from the AGM was the amount achieved by Worcester Roots over the past year. The hard work by young volunteers and everyone involved with the charity has been integral to its success to date and in its continuous plans for an ambitious future. Below are some comments by attendees of the AGM on what the meeting and past year have meant to them…
“Worcester Roots gives me structure to my week when I’m on holidays from college, and develops my skills for a job. The AGM was amazing in showing us what we‘ve accomplished over the past year.” - Geddy
It’s better than a generic youth club because it has a nice message to it. The environmental focus is a great idea and everyone is so enthusiastic about it. That came across clearly in the AGM and it was inspirational in showing us what we can achieve in the future.” - Will
“Roots helped me get into University through the valuable work experience with charities.”-Olivia
“If it wasn’t for Worcester Roots I wouldn’t have stayed in University. It’s helped me so much.” – Rhys