CU Coventry’s latest wellbeing activity has blossomed into a Forest of Hope display that will hopefully inspire young people to branch out and talk about their feelings.
The New Year, New Beginnings Widening Participation project saw 3,500 students aged 11-18 across the UK receive a 3D, self-standing thought tree.
The tree was designed by Halilibrahim Shevket, Graphic Designer at Coventry University Group, to encourage young people to share their thoughts, feelings, hopes and dreams in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and now 250 creations are on display in a Forest of Hope at CU Coventry’s Mile Lane campus.
The project was created by Liam Norton, Widening Participation Specialist at CU Coventry as a follow-up to the award-winning Draw Your Future campaign, which was also a paper-focused activity aimed at young people studying at home in digital poverty to encourage creativity and communication in lockdown.
Liam said: “This activity gave young people the opportunity to think about the past 12 months, to reflect on their personal experiences of living through a global pandemic and how it has affected their lives and the lives of others.
“It was also an opportunity for them to plan for the future and think about their hopes and dreams for 2021.”
Jessica Johnson is one young person that used the activity to manage her mind and focus on her future, the 18-year-old is now preparing to start a Physiotherapy BSc Hons degree at Coventry University in September.
Her design, that features a poem about how the community pulled together during the pandemic and a ‘mind dump’ of a bin overflowing with pictures that represent the negatives of the last year, was crowned most creative and she hopes the display inspires others.
Jessica said: “This project has allowed me to focus on the bigger picture and to stop worrying about smaller things, something that helped me through my exams at school.
“What I have learned from this is that it is important to keep going and share your feelings. I now know I can talk to my family and friends about anything, and they are always there to rely on.
“I hope that the display is something that will be able to inspire others and reflect some positivity after the tough times we have all had.
“I look forward to the year ahead and cannot wait to start my career in physiotherapy and make a difference to other people’s lives.”
Find out more about CU Coventry’s Widening Participation projects here.