Hello, hallo, hej, hola,witaj, bonjour, privet, sveikas, tja, konnichichiwa, moin, boas, shwmae, ahnyong, sawubona, buon giorno, salaam alekum, shalom, ni hao– and welcome to the Wilberforce College Seeds of Change Project!
We are delighted that you have taken the time to visit our website. We hope that you find inspiration and ideas that you can grow in your community.
Please share with us your thoughts and plans, wherever you are in the world we’d love to hear from you and link up. Contact us via the form at the bottom of this page and share your story with us.
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We have just been awarded a KC Community Grant- Thanks KC !
Wilberforce Sixth Form College is located in the east of the city of Hull. The college catchment area includes areas of significant deprivation within the city and also the rural East Riding. More than half of the student population are from postcodes with a high deprivation index. The majority of the college’s students are aged 16 to 18, and 70% of students are drawn from five partner schools in Hull. Four per cent of the student population are from minority ethnic backgrounds. The prior attainment of the majority of students is below the average for a sixth form college. In 2013, 50.1% of 16-year-olds in Hull achieved five or more GCSE’s at A* to C including English and mathematics which is significantly below the national rate. (Ofsted 2015)
We would like you to join in the evolution of our community that is bringing food, nature and art to the minds of its young people. We at the Wilberforce College Seeds of Change project are excited to share with you our ambitious and radical plans to transform lives in East Hull.
We are already inspiring a food culture and healthy lifestyle revolution that will soon rock this city to its core!
Driven by our conviction to drive down the health inequalities that have inflicted our locality for too long, we are bringing together individuals as a collective of self empowered decision makers. Taking great pride in the generous spirit of our local population, we are grounded in the earth of East Hull, nurturing a lasting legacy for future generations.
We are already embracing the four seasons by growing roots that will forge a healthy lifetime of routes towards freedom and health equality, enabling our learners to spread word of this great city as they travel the world.
We have a three pronged approach which sets out a narrative and examples of creativity that promote the idea that socially progressive practice can be applied with direct action. We are demonstrating the ease with which a collective response to health inequalities can be incorporated in and outside of subject disciplines.
1) We are inspiring our young people to ‘funk up their junk’ and grow fruit and vegetables on college grounds by creating an edible campus, in upcycling waste objects like old filing cabinets and delivery pallets into containers that can be used to grow food. Discarded waste turns into a visible metaphor for an upcycled food culture and the rebirth of the city.
Recently partnered up with Rooted in Hull, we and are looking at ways that an LED growing unit can be developed on site to galvanise a new generation of urban youth to take an interest in producing high tech, environmentally sustainable food- here in East Hull.
2) We are setting up a pizza company to nurture an entrepreneurial spirit and employ peer group promotion of a food culture in college and beyond. We have already started the pizza garden where raw ingredients are growing. This will have much wider impact when we take it out to the local primary schools we now have developed links with.
3) edible wood and culture park. It is in this third dimension of our project that we are keen to celebrate our achievements, by creating an artistic interpretation of an eco-therapeutic space, fruit and nut trees will grow alongside open spaces for art and drama productions to exhibit and take place.
We are self funding as there is no money available for this project from the government (yet). Despite this we have cross-curricular involvement that in just one year include five departments: Art and Design, Performing Arts (Dance), Health and Caring, Engineering and Foundation.
We are often encouraged by the prevailing political tenet, to see the young people we serve as separate consumers of education, dislocated from their locality or wider structural and economic forces. From this perspective young people are free to make their own choices about everything they eat, think or do. This hegemonic lense encourages us to see individuals as consumers of their own bespoke lifestyles and as victors or victims of their unique decisions.
Although such an individualistic account of life has many truly liberating dimensions, there are arguably far greater social forces at work which shape collective group or cultural responses that are shared by many people. In many parts of Hull, like in similar towns and cities nationally, apathetic attitudes towards positive lifestyle choices have been learnt and are endlessly recirculated as a means of coping with poverty and the structural replication of low self-expectation. This has and continues to lead towards the manifestation of self-fulfilling prophecies of low wage employment and in many cases the adoption of negative attitudes towards lifestyle choices that result in poor health.
We could in contrast celebrate those young people who make great choices and embrace the opportunities afforded by meritocratic success at fantastic institutions such Wilberforce College Sixth Form College that lead onwards from A-Levels/ BTECs to a degree and then a well paid and rewarding career. Although we embrace everyone in our project, it is those who are most disadvantaged that we seek to impress the most.
Since the industrial revolution individuals who found themselves alongside one another doing manual labour, grew together as collectives. United by the heavy demands of low pay and the limited prospects of promotion, lifestyles of instant gratification developed, where a ‘live for the moment’ mentality began to make choices that expressed social solidarity. One highly visible example of such a ‘cultural choice’ that exists in many poorer regions such as Hull, is that smoking remains an expression of liberty, creating time and space away from the boss and the demands of work. In this light food choices can also be viewed as a cultural form of resistance to structural inequalities, where the promotion of healthier options are often collectively rejected as signs of an oppressive ‘nanny’ state where government health advice represents hometime instructions from the boss.
There is much academic research that clearly identifies the links between family income and attitudes towards education, work and health. In common with many economically deprived regions of the UK, the less affluent of Hull have not historically shared the attitudes of the more wealthy towards deferred gratification and future planning. Such monied values include aspirations towards educational attainment, career progression and the selection of lifestyle choices that will ultimately predicate a long retirement period drinking Chianti under the Tuscan sun. In today’s economic climate life for the least advantaged in society is a day to day event, that is increasingly finding it a struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table each week.
From many sociological perspectives these issues and more, sketch out the largely unspoken ethnographies of the individuals we endeavour to inspire and lead outwards towards an aspirational future horizon. From this backdrop the Seeds of Change Project paints a landscape where we physically and positively reconnect the young people we serve with the proverb that you reap what you sow. By promoting a reconnection with the earth we naturally connect with each other as humans.
Finally and on top of all this, there are countless well evidenced scientific studies that clearly illustrate the links between poor diet, behavioural problems and limited physical, emotional and intellectual development that when we tackle these, college wide achievement is sure to share in the many benefits of such an approach.
The issues addressed here are but an abstract simplification of a whole complexity of socio-economic and political issues that have been discussed for decades and more. The simple fact is that unless we do something now to address the growing health inequalities of our age, nothing positive will happen in our lifetime. It is therefore our firm belief that what is needed is a grassroot movement that inspires our young people to seize the moment and make informed choices that will enable them to build the bright and healthy future they deserve.
At the Seeds of Change Project we are working hard to inspire members of the Wilberforce community to take hold of this initiative and grow a Wilberforce wide collaborative project. To achieve this we are going to make healthy food socially desirable. We are developing an ‘edible campus’ that encourages our community of learners to see their food literally growing before their eyes. By doing this we will encourage them to reconnect with food in a more holistic and thoughtful way everyday at the heart of college.
From this our project will sow the seed that growing food is at the root of almost everything we need. By reconnecting our community with food, we know that we can grow strong again by ending food poverty and inspiring cooperative social and economic activity. At Wilberforce we are making it happen!
- inspiring self-development through cooperation
- promoting health, wellbeing and hope
- overcoming health inequalities as a community
How we are doing it:
As with anything worthwhile, the hardest part is getting started. We did this in Easter 2015, by turning a piece of grass by the staff carpark into ‘F Block Orchard’. We picked these apple and pear trees up from a discount supermarket for a few quid each- bargain.
Later that year we launched our project to the whole college in style, by commissioning local graffiti artist ‘Si2’. With his assistance we created a display that showcased our ideas and expressed our ambition. The display featured fruit, vegetables and herbs growing out of bits and bobs that were either begged, borrowed or found. Two highlights included an upcycled filing cabinet filled with chilli plants and an old delivery pallet converted into a mediterranean herb planter.
We are continuing to work with Si2 to help create an interesting, fun and youthful vibe. His graffiti art helped launch Hull’s successful bid for the 2017 City of Culture, so he has an excellent track record for attracting success. His latest designs can be found on the bus shelter outside of college, it is deep.
Following on from our opening exhibition, we identified a second piece of land that we could cultivate and turn into a food production area. We called this location ‘Base Camp’, like mountaineers setting off on an uphill trek towards the summit of a mountain, climbing this simile as a metaphor for the improved food choices we are aiming to elevate.
Central to our project we are setting up a cooperative pizza company to inspire an entrepreneurial spirit that engages with the idea of creating a proactive healthier community. Through gentle encouragement our pizzas will be topped with fresh produce grown right here on Wilberforce College campus, where we will be emphasising a vegetarian ethos. In doing so we will stimulate a mindful internal college market where food production and growth are reintegrated in young minds. This way our students will be at the heart of growing, producing and promoting the fingerlicking great taste of fresh pizza.
What is truly amazing about the Seeds of Change project is that we have gained so much support from departments across the college.There are now embedded elements of the project in Art and Design, Foundation, Health and Caring and Performing Arts (Dance).
BTEC Art and Design students have put together some thoughtful designs which encapsulate our ambitions to spread the word and make the college grounds a brighter place.
Foundation students have been strongly involved from the very start, these young grafters have been responsible for clearing, digging and planting many of our crops- keep it up guys!
In BTEC Performing Arts (Dance) students have created a Seeds of Change Dance. This dance has been performed several times as part of our partnership with a local primary school. Three groups of 10 year old students from Ings Primary School recently visited Wilberforce College and were entertained, informed and educated by our dancers about the importance of healthy lifestyle choices- Seeds of Change style.
In the Health and Caring Department, students are busy putting together a sensory garden based on the Hungry Caterpillar- sweet.
So as you can see what we are talking about here is not just food its a lifestyle!
The Seeds of Change crew 2016
The Seeds of Change Dance- Summer 2016
Many students from different curriculum areas are getting involved in the project. Students studying BTec L3 Performing Arts have devised a Seeds of Change dance to inform and educate young children about the importance of healthy eating and having a healthy lifestyle, such as the danger of smoking. As part of their course, the students had to devise the choreography for the 30 minute performance, design the costumes, set, select backing music and perform to an audience.
Pupils from Gillshill and Ings Primary Schools are visiting the college during April and May to see the performance and to take part in a range of activities to encourage them to keep up a healthy lifestyle and eat healthy foods – including fitness sessions, quizzes and an art project.
Well done to all the students for their hard work, commitment and enthusiasm. The consensus from Ings pupils was that it was “awesome”!
Ings Primary School – year 5
The ‘Seeds of Change dancers’ on the back row are: (left to right) Keeley Forward, Georgia Goldspink, Stacey Foster, Hannah Smart, Alannah Turner-Evans, Penny Wilkinson, Neve Jameson and Katie Hunt
Thank you cards sent from Gillshill Primary School children- following the Seeds of Change Dance and Healthier Lifestyle workshop.
WINNER- NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group Funding- 2016
Congratulations to Caprice and Conrad, who have just won Hull Rotary Awards at the Wilberforce College Achievement Evening 2015.
In the beginning……
Coming Soon- The Edible Forest
The Seeds of Change Bus Shelter
We are growing…
We are assisting the residents of Bayswater Court in creating a garden area for local residents to get together and socialise as a community. We are bringing older and younger members of our neighbourhood together! More news to follow…