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Where You From?

Inspirational Iris leads the way for Bulwell.

Iris Wallace and her family moved to Bulwell only a year ago, but she’s taken the place to her heart. When lockdown came, community-minded Iris wondered what she could do to help those in need around her. Now she has been named one of The Nottingham Building Society’s Innovative Young People of 2020.

Bulwell Forest Garden is a community food growing project with a regular timetable of events and workshops for local residents. It aims to support health and wellbeing of people of all ages through education, environmental play and, of course, plenty of organically grown fruit and vegetables. Iris, who is 11, spends several hours a week at the garden, undertaking disparate tasks from fundraising to litter-picking and making bird feeders, alongside tending to the plots and the community orchard.

Iris also volunteers at Bestwood and Bulwell Food Bank putting together vital food parcels. Just before Christmas she supported her mums Kelly and Shelly in cooking more than 250 hot meals for families in need over a two-week period.

Set up as a mutual society in 1849 by a Quaker businessman, school founder and Abolitionist named John Fox, The Nottingham is prominent local building society. It established the Young People’s award to shine a light on young people who have found inspiring ways to further their education or boost their career aspirations. When one of Iris fellow community gardeners, Adele Brooksbank – also a trustee of the food bank - saw an opportunity to reward Iris’ outstanding commitment to vulnerable community members. Ms Brooksbank said she nominated Iris “not just because she has helped us as at the garden, but because she has overcome her own shyness and continues to look for new ways of learning and gathering information. As it turned out, 19 other people from in and around Bulwell also nominated Iris for her extraordinary efforts!

Iris won the 11-13 years category and took home a £250 tech voucher prize. Her dedication to helping those in need remains unclouded by this public recognition: “It is nice to be recognised in this way but the main reason I continue to do as much volunteering as I can in my spare time is to help people who most need it in the community where I live.”

Creative Education Trust joins Michelle Strong, Principal of Bulwell, all Iris’s schoolmates in congratulating her on the award. 

Read more stories of our inspiring students and staff in the latest issue of Connected. Available here: