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Worcester Roots Foundation

By Alexandra Martin

Worcester Roots Foundation is a charity which aims to raise awareness of sustainability issues in the local community. Alexandra Martin has been finding out more. 

Worcester Roots Foundation is a small charity with a big ambition. ‘We’re currently looking for an appropriate local location to create an ‘Earth Ship’ similar to the Brighton Earthship’ says Natasha Giaquinto who is the project’s manager. The building in Brighton is a community centre and ‘green’ building, built with recycled materials and using the earth’s natural systems to provide heat, power and water. ‘It’s an inspiration to us’ says Natasha, ‘our young people have already worked with architects to draw up a proposal, but currently we can’t take it further without land on which to construct it’.
In the meantime, Roots has recently opened a new ‘Eco Hub’ in Cathedral Plaza to promote local environmental awareness. It’s run by volunteers and as well as holding regular craft sessions, the hub is a place for people to find out about the many other activities run by volunteers.

‘Volunteers are at the heart of absolutely everything that we do’ says Natasha. ‘They continuously amaze me. It’s so nice to be able to work with a bunch of young people that actually want to give something back and really contribute. The passion and the drive of the young people keeps us going.’

Set up six years ago, the group became a registered charity in 2010 and is run by a steering group. Last year around fifty people were involved in different activities, which include a weekly food co-op using local produce. ‘People order food from us’ says Natasha, ‘which is harvested and brought to us before they pick it up’.
By generating income in this way, Roots doesn’t rely on grant funding, which it hopes will help it to have a long-term future. Volunteers meet every Thursday to discuss ideas and make plans for new projects. They also take part in events in the community and meet a variety of people.

Newly appointed staff member Emma Worman says the best thing about being involved is meeting people. ‘We meet everyone. People of different ages, people of different abilities, it’s a really welcoming environment for anyone that has a disability as well and that’s not something that you necessarily get in your day to day life.’

Rhys Astbury-Jones feels the charity has helped him make friends for life. ‘I absolutely adore it, there are so many things I like. This group has helped me build up friendships, I’m still friends with people I met here on my very first day. It’s helped build my confidence, it’s given me skills, and it’s just a wonderful environment.’

If you’re interested in volunteering for Worcester Roots Foundation or if you can work in the hub, contact Natasha on (01905) 24741 or visit The Eco Hub in Cathedral Plaza on Monday (Midday-4pm), Thursday (10am-4pm) or Saturday (11am-4pm).

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