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Make it! get to work on the 'Rebel's Retreat'

Published: 10 May 2017


Young people aged 12-13 who are part of Toynbee Hall’s youth mentoring project, Make it!, built an outdoor classroom last week in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park.

The classroom named ‘Rebel’s Retreat’, is a space for young people, built by young people and will be used on a daily basis by schools and youth groups. The young people came up with the name to remind us of the Dissenters' Chapel, the site on which the classroom now sits.

The project is one of the key stages of Make it!, a mentoring project by Toynbee Hall, which combines mentoring, group work and community projects to increase young people's confidence and communication skills helping them to combat social isolation and increase their engagement with school.

Over the course of 3 days (Wednesday 3rd – Friday 5th May) 23 year 8 pupils from Lister Community School and George Green’s School who had no experience of building worked with the Build Up Foundation to construct an outdoor learning space in the Cemetery Park. Over the three days, the young people also cooked all of the meals, made a short film and built a bug hotel.

Make it! get to work on the Rebel's Retreat  Make it! get to work on the Rebel's Retreat

The final project was then unveiled on Friday 5th May to the young people’s families and teachers at a barbeque to celebrate to completion of the classroom and everything they had achieved over the course of the week.

The Rebel’s Retreat stands as a testament to what young people can do when they work together. People assume young people spend too much time inside with their modern comforts but when given the opportunity to work in an outdoor environment and create something lasting, they can thrive. We at Make it! are immensely proud of what they’ve achieved, not only over the last 3 days, but over the school year.”
Curtis Worrell, Youth Projects Manager, Toynbee Hall

The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park are thrilled to host this amazing project. We are so proud to be home to this grand design, built in only 3 days by the young people of East London. It will be used on a daily basis by our schools, forest school and adult education activities and will make a huge difference to the learning activities we can offer local people. What a privilege for us to work with Toynbee Hall and Build Up Foundation too. Thanks so much.”
Sarah Tibbatts, Training Manager, Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Here is the finished 'Rebel's Retreat'. If you're ever walking the dog or just having a wander in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, make sure you have a seat and take a look for yourself.

The finished Rebel's Retreat