Skip to content

Partnership in Practice

Little Amal visits Wentworth Castle Gardens
Little Amal visits Wentworth Castle Gardens | © Barnsley Museums

Wentworth Castle Gardens, rooted in rivalry, has delivered and supported a range of projects in partnership with Barnsley Council and Northern College to support the local community, from poetry exhibitions to development programmes.

Fine Fettle: An outdoor personal development programme

Do you work with people with a lived experience of mental health? Could you refer people who would like to build their confidence, improve their skills and enhance their wellbeing in the beautiful Wentworth Castle Gardens woodland?

Fine Fettle supports adults with a lived experience of mental health to engage in outdoor activities including forest skills, wildlife identification, nature-based arts, folklore, mindfulness and much more.

During the programme people will meet new people, develop new interests or rediscover previous joys in life, as well as being offered the support to progress onto new opportunities that interest them. Following the Forest School philosophy of learning, people are at the heart of the programme, helping to shape the course content and discover opportunities to explore peer mentoring beyond the course.

Fine Fettle takes place one full day a week, for six weeks, between March to August.

For more information please contact Angela Wright via email at

Walk with Amal at Wentworth Castle Gardens

In 2021, from the Syria-Turkey border all the way to Barnsley, 'Walk with Amal' brought together celebrated artists, major cultural institutions, community groups and humanitarian organisations, creating one of the most innovative and adventurous public artworks ever attempted.

Little Amal is a 3.5 metre-tall puppet of a Syrian refugee child at the heart of 'The Walk'. Over the summer and autumn of 2021, she walked over 8,000km across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Barnsley to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees.

Placing Barnsley on the world stage, we shared an important message about Barnsley's welcome for refugees and acknowledged the important contributions migrants make and have always made to our borough.

The Barnsley Feels Like Home group welcomed Little Amal on her arrival to Wentworth Castle Gardens through poetry, dance and song inspired by the flowers onsite, sharing their experiences of journey and belonging.

As well as creating poetry and costumes, Barnsley Feels Like Home worked with international artist Maryam Samaan to contribute objects to her art installation, the Rope of Hope. The Rope reflected Amal's impressions and memories during her journey, incorporating the experiences of community groups wherever Amal travelled.

Barnsley was chosen to be part of this incredible tour because of the borough's own Feels Like Home (ESOL Group) and partnerships with Good Chance Theatre. Established by Barnsley Museums over four years ago, the group has over 100 members representing all age groups and many nationalities from across the world. The group embeds language skills with cultural activities, offering opportunities to build relationships and friendships.

Allow video to play? This page contains content that is published to YouTube.

We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as this content may introduce additional cookies. You may want to read the Google YouTube terms of service  and privacy policy  before accepting.


Little Amal visits Wentworth Castle Gardens, a film by Good Chance Theatre

As Little Amal sumbled upon a crumbling castle ruin in Barnsley, the Rope of Hope created by artist Maryam Samaan became her guide, its twists and turns leading her back through the memories of the long way she has travelled.

The Taking Root Exhibition

Gardens are full of plants that have travelled across the globe. Some were collected by explorers as they discovered new lands, some were brought by merchants trading exotic treasures from afar. It takes a rich variety of plants to make the perfect garden - full of colour, scent, shape and texture.

Members of Barnsley Feels Like Home come from all over the world. In the Taking Root project, they worked with artists and poets at Wentworth Castle Gardens to explore their personal journeys through the national flowers of their countries of origin, flowers that have made the journey here too.

Award winning botanical artist Louise Lane created the beautiful flower illustrations whilst award winning poet Andrew McMillan shared his writing skills with the group to bring this exhibition to life.

Barnsley Feels Like Home delivered a creative writing workshop for 10 ESOL students from Barnsley College. The workshop was followed by a celebration event for the Taking Root exhibition, where members of the group read poems and spoke about their contributions to the exhibition.

The exhibition also captures Barnsley Feels Like Home welcoming Little Amal, a giant puppet of a Syrian refugee girl, to the gardens. The group created costumes, flags and poetry to celebrate Little Amal's visit, sharing their own experiences of journey and belonging.

Encounters: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is remembered as the woman who introduced inoculation to Britain. The National Trust and Barnsley Museums commissioned Lorna Rees, Artistic Director of Gobbledegook Theatre, to deliver a residency exploring Lady Mary's life in 2022: Encounters.

Created through research and consultation, Encounters uncovered elements of Lady Mary's extraordinary life through short films, photography and theatrical performance onsite at Wentworth Castle Gardens.

In December 2021, Gobbledegook Theatre co-created six short films with the people of Barnsley. Locations included a nail salon, travel agents, Barnsley markets and a Turkish restaraunt. Whilst wearing a fabulous costume inspired by Lady Mary, Lorna chatted to local people about the life of this remarkable woman. The themes of Encounters interviews include women's education, travel, medicine and Turkish culture.

In January 2022, Encounters launched on social media. Each day between 10 and 15 January, new content, including a film, was released on the Wentworth Castle Gardens and Barnsley Museum platforms.

The campaign reached 30,000 people with over 10,000 views of the films.

In April 2022, over five days, Lorna engaged over 980 people at Wentworth Castle Gardens. Lorna told them all about Mary's life, talking through her costume, but also having brilliant dialogue with visitors to the gardens, the vast majority of whom had never heard of Mary's daring life and her extraordinary legacy in medical history.

Encounters has become part of the Barnsley Archives digital collection, ensuring these important voices will continue to be heard.

Lorna from Gobbledegook Theatre wearing a costume inspired by the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
Lorna from Gobbledegook Theatre wearing a costume inspired by the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu | © Jayne Jackson


The Kindred action research programme brought together 21 partners from arts, heritage, education and social services to support Barnsley communities. The programme came at a time of need for vulnerable families who were at higher risk of being adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, when demand for drug-misuse and domestic abuse services rose. During the pandemic, 20 families attended with 59 individuals taking part from 13 districts around Barnsley.

Kindred aimed to encourage families with multiple and complex needs with mixed-age children (11-18 years old) to view cultural and heritage activity as something they can positively engage in together to raise aspirations, build skills and improve individual and collective wellbeing.

In partnership with Cannon Hall and Worsborough Mill museums, Kindred offered a two day programme of outdoor activities including craft, art, nature identification and micro-volunteering to promote a positive learning experience and introduction to family volunteering, education and training.

The exterior of the conservatory and house at Wentworth Castle Gardens on a sunny day


Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help people and nature to thrive at the places we care for.

Our partners

Barnsley Museums

Exhibits encouraging visitors to explore the people and places of Barnsley

Visit website 

Northern College

The only residential College designed for adults aged 19+ in the North

Visit website 

A gardener crouches down to talk to a young child who has picked up the gardener's hoe at Wenworth Castle Gardens, Yorkshire

Our work at Wentworth Castle Gardens 

Discover how we work to look after this historic site and how community projects are introducing new opportunities to audiences of all ages.

Visitors walking near the 18th century Palladian mansion at Wentworth Castle Gardens, South Yorkshire on a sunny autumnal day

Changing the legacy of Wentworth Castle Gardens 

Discover how the property went from a power symbol built on the proceeds of slavery to an educational centre offering life-changing education to thousands of people.

Painting of Lady Mary Pierrepont, later Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) by after Jonathan Richardson the younger. A three-quarter length portrait showing Lady Mary standing, wearing a black dress.

Who was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu? 

Discover the story of the woman commemorated by Wentworth Castle Gardens’ obelisk, which is among the oldest monuments in the UK dedicated to a woman based on personal achievements.