General programme

BEES Shaping Spaces

Background about the programme/work you do:

B.E.E.S. (Bradford Environmental Education Service) is the environmental department of Bradford YMCA. We offer a broad range of environmental education opportunities to young people, individuals, community groups, schools and businesses; enabling and inspiring people to make a positive contribution to their local environment, develop skills and explore nature.
Shaping Spaces grew out of previous work B.E.E.S. delivered combined with our experience of how much people can benefit from working outdoors and in natural settings. We see people growing in confidence and skills through volunteering with us and wanted to open this opportunity up to young people who need support to find their own feet and move on with their lives.
Shaping Spaces is a programme designed to help young people gain confidence and move towards education, training or employment.

How many candidates you have enrolled through the funding?

We have engaged with 112 young people through taster days and the Shaping Spaces course.

What have you been covering on the programme?

The programme lasts for twelve weeks, running on Wednesdays and Thursdays each week. Wednesdays are our task days where we work outdoors on a major project helping a community group/organisation undertake an horticultural or landscaping project. For example, we have recently completed building a community growing area and accessible pathway, with some landscaping, at St James’ Church, Bolton Road. Thursdays are based at Culture Fusion Building where young people write up a personal portfolio of the skills they are gaining through our task work, and take time to think about life-skills and their future.


Young people and other organisations working with them have reported a significant increase in the young people’s confidence and self-esteem as a result of being on Shaping Spaces. Some have difficulty reading and writing but a couple have discovered an enjoyment of both through writing up their portfolio.
19 of our young people have gained a Level 1 Award in Practical Horticulture with us through Shipley College, and 4 have achieved a Level 1 Certificate in Practical Horticulture.
31 of our young people have progressed onto training or employment.