We work in partnership with Barnsley Council and Northern College to manage Wentworth Castle Gardens. The aim of the partnership is to put people at the heart of everything we do, with opportunities for all visitors and volunteers to get involved and help shape the gardens. Through the partnership, we can reach more people and do more valuable work.
We work with Barnsley Council and Northern College to run projects which welcome new audiences to Wentworth Castle Gardens and support volunteering and participation. We want the stories we tell – both historic and contemporary – to be relevant to everyone, and for Wentworth Castle Gardens to be a place where people can develop their skills and look after their health & wellbeing. In the first year of opening, The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) have helped us set up this working partnership and develop a range of collaborative projects.
What have we done so far?
Since opening, we have recruited 80 volunteers, bringing our total number of volunteers to 150. We were fortunate to be able to keep 70 volunteers who had worked in the gardens for the previous Trust, and while it was closed between 2017 and 2019. From June 2019 to February 2020, volunteers gave nearly 900 hours of their time to working with us.
Many of our volunteers work in the gardens and parkland, but we have also introduced a number of new roles so that volunteers bring their skills to every area of the site. This year, volunteers will have the opportunity to train as mentors to support new volunteers and participants on some of our community projects.
Winter Star Walk
In December 2019, students from Northern College created a Winter Star Walk. They took inspiration from the nature and history around them to craft willow stars. Students shared with visitors what Wentworth Castle Gardens means to them.
Learning at Wentworth Castle Gardens
In partnership with Barnsley Museums Learning Team, the first two Creative Writing workshops for schools were delivered at Wentworth Castle Gardens in October 2019. KS2 pupils explored the landscape and were inspired to create their own poetry using a range of literary techniques. Back in the classroom, the children used these ideas to develop their creative writing portfolios. Here is what some of the pupils thought about of their day at Wentworth Castle Gardens.
‘Today has been brilliant. Like writing poems and getting ideas from the flowers. Everything was fabulous, thank you.’
What’s still to come?
Re-designing the Union Jack Garden
In the 18th century, Thomas Wentworth set out to display his political allegiances through the design of the Union Jack Garden. Over the next two years, the garden segments will be re-designed by community groups from around Barnsley in a way that represents their core values and identity.
Forest Families is a brand-new course run at Northern College, with the support of Barnsley Museum’s Family Learning programme. Groups will spend a weekend at Wentworth Castle Gardens, learning new ways of working together as a family by developing practical skills in a forest setting.
Great Place Scheme: Artist in Residence
The evolution of Wentworth Castle Gardens will be explored in 2020 through an exciting Artist-in-Residence project. Artists will work collaboratively with local community groups to create a piece of art which reflects the stories of this special place, as well as our links to Wentworth Woodhouse and Elsecar Heritage Centre. This project is funded through the Great Place Scheme, a partnership between NLHF, ACE and supported by Historic England.