Charity to help children create natural spaces

Chantry hedge planting
Chantry hedge planting

Groundwork has been working with Luton schools to create better working environments.

The community charity with a green heart has been working with Chantry Primary Academy, Wenlock Church of England Junior, Surrey Street Primary, Hillborough Junior and St Joseph’s Primary schools to develop plans and raise funds to make better use of the outdoor environments.

Wenlock Junior pupils taking part in a survey of the school grounds

Wenlock Junior pupils taking part in a survey of the school grounds

Funding has come from Awards For All, Affinity Water, the schools and the John Laing Charitable Trust.

Chantry Primary received support in drawing up plans and developing ideas.

Vicky Duxbury, Groundwork’s environmental education officer in Luton, said: “We have been discussing with the children and teachers what they would like to do with the area.

“The plan has been set up and it includes an allotment area, an outdoor classroom and a pond.”

The plans for Chantry Primary Academy natural space

The plans for Chantry Primary Academy natural space

The school raised £10,000 and the charity helped them raise a further £14,000 towards the project.

Assistant headteacher Jamie Kelly said: “The project will enable a wide range of outdoor learning opportunities for the pupils on a piece of land that otherwise would have stood unused and derelict.

“The children will be able to grow produce, garden, hunt for bugs, bird-watch, play, pond dip and a whole range of other fantastic learning experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.

“We believe strongly in outdoor learning and giving the children the chance to appreciate the nature and the environment around them.”

Surrey Street Primary School will be building an allotment garden and Groundwork will help the school set up a gardening club.

The charity has helped St Joseph’s to apply for funding to run an after school club, develop ideas for their natural environment.

Ms Duxbury said: “The school wants to run the club for parents and children to learn together about wildlife.”

The Project Implementation Team have been helping pupils from Wenlock Junior and Hillborough Junior have been working on cleaning up their ponds and bringing wildlife back to the area.

A spokesperson for Wenlock Junior school said: “Groundwork have been really helpful. They drew up the initial design plans for our pond area and have helped us to apply for some grant funding towards the costs of the refurbishment.

“We are hoping to start work in the spring.”

The schools will be holding family action days to get the parents involved with what the children are doing, they will help create natural habitats for wildlife, clean up the area and build bird boxes.

Groundwork is also working with a range of partners, including Luton Culture and the Public Health Team, to plan another Luton Veg Festival.

This project, ran in 2013 at Stockwood Discovery Centre, sees schools coming together to learn about food growing and health eating and culminates with a village fete type event when schools enter their produce to be judged.

Groundwork and its partners are seeking support in order to run this project again in 2015.

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