Teens create a sensory walk

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A group of teenagers have created a sensory walk at Anglers Country Park, inspired by their friend who was born visually impaired.

The 15 youngsters from across the district designed the nature trail after meeting 16-year-old Kristiana Zunde on a four week National Citizens Service (NCS) programme.

As part of the programme, which helps young people to try outdoor activities and develop life skills, Kristiana and the other 15 to 17-year-olds completed outdoor challenges including rock climbing and a nine mile walk. Many of the teens were inspired by Kristiana, of Pinderfields, and completed the tasks blindfolded to experience them from her point of view.

The latter half of the NCS programme involved the group devising a social action project to help the community.

They chose to build the nature trail so that visually impaired people could easily access the outdoors. It features a rope and wind chimes to guide visitors along the course and braille signs to describe the plants and birds in the area.

Kristiana said: “In the area, there is not much for blind people to do outdoors. If we want to go somewhere with our families, there isn’t many places we can go.”

Jodie Matthews, a member of Wakefield Council’s youth work team who helped oversee the NCS programme, said: “After working with Kristiana and listening to what she had to say, the group realised what little resources are out there for the blind and visually impaired outdoors.”

Businesses and organisations have backed the walk, which opens on Monday, and volunteers at the park’s trust have offered to maintain it.

More than 200 young people are taking part in the NCS programme this summer, in partnership with the council’s youth work team, HQ Arts, NCS Network, Next Generation and the Youth Association. They are working on projects including volunteering at food banks and providing activities for people in residential homes.

Coun Olivia Rowley, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I’m very proud that so many young people are involved. The programme will help them to develop new skills while at the same time doing something positive and worthwhile which will benefit the wider community.”