Barrier Breakers Build Brilliant Bird Boxes.

The New Year kicked off with a bang for abirdabode as Barrier Breakers joined the project. Barriers Breakers is a forum and support group for young people with additional needs and disabilities that meets on Monday evenings at Oldham Civic Centre as part of Oldham Youth Council.

With Barrier Breakers we wanted to maintain the abirdabode ethos of being as hands on as possible with the making of the nest boxes. As we knew this would be a challenge for some of the group, we ran a quick intro and training session for the support workers first. We covered how the bird boxes would be made from the kit of parts, how to use the drills and tool kit and general safety. Using the drills was a new experience for the team and there were a few worried expressions and some trepidation as to whether the young people were going to be able to manage. Jacqui and I were determined that the session would be as hands on as possible and, with Greg Cookson’s support and belief in what we were doing, the team agreed to go for it just as the young people arrived.

The Barrier Breakers members had been working on designs for their bird boxes over the past few weeks and had prepared a presentation. Their ideas are varied and exciting and will produce some amazing art birdboxes, which will include a Lewis Hamiliton F1 inspired nest box, a Giving Nature A Home nest box with butterfly and flower decoration and nest boxes featuring dinosaurs, lions and Rugby teams amongst others…

Following the presentation each participant chose which design their box would be; a traditional rectangular box or a more contemporary diamond design. Then the making began…

The group members exceeded our expectations with what they achieved, every single member of the group managed to drill pilot holes in the timber sections of the boxes and then proceeded to screw them together! A few of the group were nervous of using the drills at first but with careful encouragement and familiarising them with the tool kit step by step they overcame their concerns and by the end of the session were using the drills with great gusto and huge smiles.

Michael, Brandon, Nathan, (Hi-) Lee and Mubaarak proved absolute stars assisting other group members with the construction of their bird boxes and their confidence, patience and skills were fantastic.

Despite some questions over which practical creative activities would work for the group our initial session proved what they can achieve and the bird boxes will genuinely be their own work and will be something to be truly proud of.

At the end of the session one of the youth workers admitted she’d been worried all day about the activity but was amazed and actually close to tears over how well the group had done and how much they had got out of it…

Michael made a brilliant comment that despite doing some woodwork at school he’d learnt more in the last 2 hours than during 5 years at school! This alongside the looks of amazement on parent’s faces when they arrived at the end of the evening and saw the practical work going on and the fact that none of the group wanted to leave makes this one of the best creative sessions for the abirdabode project so far!

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