We’ve had a busy year here at CARAS. We’ve seen plenty of new faces come through our doors, started new projects, and said goodbye to some old friends. Overall, it’s been an important year for us, and here’s a look back at a few of our highlights.
Once again, this year saw CARAS run two trips over summer to The Grange in Norfolk, giving more young people the fantastic opportunity to take a break from London, explore the countryside and engage with a range of local activities. As well as getting stuck in with the daily responsibilities of feeding the animals, gardening and chopping wood, there was still lots of time for fun and games, and it’s safe to say that every one of us had an amazing experience that we’ll will never forget.
Throughout 2016 we were able to enjoy the many culinary delights of our healthy cooking workshops. First started back in January and run by Tom Waterfall, these workshops aimed to share the importance of eating well, whilst helping our young people learn how to cook up some delicious AND healthy food in the process!
Always a treat to see what they’d come up with next, these classes have offered a fun, creative and social space for everybody who has taken part in them over the past year. We can’t wait to see what they cook up next!
2016 saw the formation of the very first CARAS Youth Council!
With a growing number of young people attending our projects last year, and an aim to increase inclusivity and participation, our newly elected youth council have already been hard at work, attending training, forming new ideas and meeting with local groups and figures in the community. They’re already doing great things, and we can’t wait to see how they grow even further over the next year.
If there was one thing that certainly wasn’t lacking in 2016, it was gardening. Largely thanks to our amazing ongoing partnership with our friends over at Transition Town Tooting, it seemed that everybody here at CARAS suddenly discovered their own inner hidden gardening talents, and we certainly shared it with the world.
Our young people have helped transform the outdoor space of the CARAS office and community centre, they were invited to take part in the Hampton Court Flower Show, and have helped in driving a new project called ‘Gardens of Refuge’, which managed to receive an incredible 6389 votes for the Aviva community fund, making us a finalist for a grant for up to £10,000 towards the project.
Lastly, we’d like to acknowledge all of the CARAS community who have made the past year so special. Whether that’s the wonderful people who we get to meet through our projects, or the many dedicated volunteers, community partners and donors who have support our work. Without you, none of what we’ve achieved would be possible. We’re looking forward to continuing our work into 2017, and we hope that you’ll join us on that journey.