Charity gains national recognition at awards

The Jack Hazeldine Foundation's chief executive Pearl Cross.

The Jack Hazeldine Foundation's chief executive Pearl Cross. - Credit: Dream Creative Media

A Clevedon charity has gained national recognition at the Third Sector Awards.

Founded in 2012, The Jack Hazeldine Foundation (the JHF) is a charity which aims to support and empower disadvantaged children and young people in North Somerset through the strength of positive relationships.

It achieves this with an extensive programme of mentoring, tutoring and therapeutic provision.

The JHF has been shortlisted for two Third Sector Awards this summer, to be celebrated at an Awards Ceremony in London on Friday.

The awards aim is to recognise the achievements of charities and provide a platform for examples of good practice.

The accolades are for the creation of  its outdoor learning space, The Orchard, in the breakthrough of the year category and for chief executive Pearl Cross in the rising chief executive category.

The Orchard. 

The Orchard. - Credit: Dream Creative Media

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the need to adapt JHF programmes became apparent very quickly and, working hand in hand with the community, the outdoor learning space The Orchard was created.

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The project began by securing a piece of land from a local farmer, then planning started. The swell of community support and inspiration grew and their workforce soon expanded beyond staff members to include school teachers, rugby teams, tradespeople, local businesses, and community volunteers.

They promoted DIY SOS days on social media for families to come together within their bubbles as a coronavirus safe, half-term lockdown activity.

Despite horrendous weather, the engagement exceeded their expectations; pathways were laid, structures built, and more than 50 trees were planted.

Many of the volunteers said that the project gave them a much-needed sense of purpose during lockdown and it gave them hope and enjoyment.

The Orchard. 

The Orchard. - Credit: Dream Creative Media

They also targeted local businesses, who in turn donated sheds, plants, and materials as well as time and promotion. They were also invited to speak on local radio.

Throughout the pandemic The Orchard enriched the wellbeing of many young people and their families; it was home to hundreds of hours of mentoring and tutoring and a range of inspirational outdoor workshops.

Post pandemic, it continues to be community-led, involving schools and community groups who enjoy their time there.

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