Cody Dock Summer Camp 2023

Earlier this month we had the joy of hosting Cody Dock’s very first Summer Camp. Held in collaboration with Spotlight youth group, we tackled different topics in sustainability and worked collaboratively towards our latest unique project…

A picture of the finished product in place: a bench complete with bug hotel, arc, bin and well wishes – what more could you need!

Back in August, Cody Dock hosted a group of 9 young people interested in creating change in their community. In response to the rising levels of eco-anxiety in under-25s, we aimed to provide young people with the tools to build environmental resilience in both themselves and their local area. To help us deliver this, we worked with Spotlight, a youth service for young people aged in Tower Hamlets, to create a series of fun creative workshops that would break down topics in sustainability and build up skills in eco-literacy. Throughout the week we held sessions investigating local urban nature, exploring principles around well-being and connectedness to nature, and finally, examining our current food systems and exploring alternatives using our community garden as a case study.

‘Great team, super workshops, best experience concerning nature ever with both a mixture of fun and education. And great pizza’

Pictures taken from our nature well-being and connectedness workshop where we explored our connection with nature through the senses and worked together to create a nature mandala.

During the afternoons, the group worked collaboratively on a project to improve a strip of woodlands in the local area. The project was co-designed with the group so exactly what they wanted to build and where was determined themselves. 

Before construction, the young people were encouraged to think about the purpose of their design in the area and who would use it. The woodlands strip runs through an industrial park, offering a secluded respite of nature to the wider industrial area. Responding to this, they decided to build a bench to provide a quiet spot for nearby workers to have their lunch. We combined ideas generated from different teams to create a final design. This consisted of building a park-style bench with a bug hotel underneath to provide a space that would benefit both people and nature. To offer seclusion, the team wanted to build an arc over the bench made by willow weaving. As the area is often targeted by litterers, the group also wanted to build a bin to mitigate the amount of waste that would enter into the natural environment. Finally, for decoration, the team had the idea of writing well-wishes to help make everyone feel welcome and invited into the space.

Pictures of the design process by the group. Ideas included putting up sign posts to show the area was looked after and discourage vandalism.

Great staff, everyone was kind and cool. Everything was engaging and fun, especially making the bench and bin. Being able to use so many different tools was amazing’

The young people worked alongside professionals from our carpentry team over the course of the week to create their design. To help see their ideas come to life, the group had the opportunity to use power tools such as saws and impact drills under supervision. We rounded off the week by implementing the final design in the space, followed by celebrating the group’s success the way we should: with pizza and party games.

A massive thank you to the young people, the team at Spotlight and everyone who helped make the week so special.

If you’re interested in hosting your school or youth group at Cody Dock, feel free to get in contact with our Education Officer: [email protected]. 

To find out more about Spotlight and the youth work that they do, please visit