The Hampshire Gardens Trust has run a successful schools programme for many years and connected with many schools across the county who have asked for help. Some very thorough and well prepared project plans have been submitted in order to apply for an HGT grant. This is particularly important as it helps us to understand the school’s aspirations, the context within the school site and the funding issues. A new educational programme is being planned for the future.
Here are three quite different projects, covering three different situations across three age ranges and in very different settings. Each of the schools approached us with a clear vision and determination to enhance their outdoor spaces for learning.
The Valley Pre-school, Meonstoke
It would be difficult to imagine a more quintessentially village setting than this site. Although the indoor facilities were adequate, the kitchen area was cramped and there was no office area. This is a very popular pre-school whose staff found it increasingly difficult to provide outdoor learning for their very lively group of 3 – 5 year olds.
Additionally, the second-hand cabin that housed the pre-school was rapidly reaching the end of its useable life. Planning consent was granted to replace the cabin with a new modular building.
The approach to HGT was in the form of a grant application to help fund the outdoor decking area. At the site meeting we were able to identify and talk through some further ideas for creating additional growing spaces for the children. We were pleased to give a grant of £500 which helped fund the outdoor decking area for the new modular building, transforming the learning facilities both inside and outdoors for this popular preschool.
St Swithun Wells Catholic Primary School
The school was the recipient of the Peter Maunder Trophy in 2014 in recognition of the continuing high quality development of its outdoor learning areas. In 2010 the school had received a grant from HGT for the provision of lecterns displaying wildlife information to help pupils identify insects around their newly developed pond area. Since then the children have, amongst other projects, designed and constructed a new bug hotel, run a Gardening Bee Sunday for family and friends and grown and sold garden herbs as part of the Waitrose Grown and Sell scheme. This project is marked by a clear vision to keep moving forward.
Applemore Technology College, Southampton
Another very different set of circumstances in a very different setting. This is a secondary school for students aged 11 to 16 where the aspiration was to make something of a blank grass square surrounded on three sides by classrooms.
The Garden Project was initiated by a group of students from the Dyslexia Support Base who were interested in the environment and who had taken the lead in the drive to create an outdoor classroom. The whole school community was involved in designing the new area so there was a marked sense of ownership and pride in the project.
The Hampshire Gardens Trust was very happy to award a grant to meet the cost of installing raised beds.