Community support

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Our local primary school has a flourishing gardening club which teaches gardening skill to the members. This includes planting seeds, potting on, planting the seedlings, tending the ground, harvesting, cooking and eating the produce; as well as enhancing the school grounds with bulbs and flowers. This year the children have also taken some produce to the local show to compare with others and see how they could improve their growing skills. The various raised beds, fruit trees and soft fruit garden are a bit of a talking point with parents and all those passing by, who enjoy seeing the plants growing and the flowers.

The children joining the club for a growing season starting in February of P5 and leaving in November of P6. And we have 7 volunteers who help along with school staff.

However we do not have a greenhouse and the children are very keen to grow tomatoes and peppers which we cannot do this far north outside. We also have nowhere really suitable for hardening off seedlings or starting seeds into growth e.g. sweet peas.

We have willing volunteers to help with construction of a wooden framed greenhouse with polycarbonate panels or to erect a polytunnel, but we lack funding. We sell the seeds of our sunflowers each year but this only raises enough to fund the purchase of seeds, plants, bulbs, netting etc and not for anything substantial like a greenhouse.

The addition of a greenhouse to our raised beds and fruit garden would allow us to deal better with the early growth of seeds and plants and to expand our growing to plants needing some additional heat or shelter.

The greenhouse needs to be large enough for several children to work in it at the one time; to have wheel chair access if required; to allow for enough plants to grow so that there is enough produce for each child to take some home or for cooking in the school; and to be sturdy enough so that the odd football does not destroy it - the greenhouse would be built in the school field where the children play during their breaks!

The club allows good interplay between the generation - most of the volunteers are of "grandparent" age. And the children almost all tell us that their grandparents grow things. We have also discovered lots of local talent in e.g. growing prize vegetables, pruning trees and constructing frames. Folk are very willing to pass on these skills to the club members.

The greenhouse would add to the topics of conversation with adults picking up/dropping off children at the school, with dog walkers and pram pushers passing by and with the other children (and staff) in the school. The soft fruit garden, created this year by volunteers from derelict ground and hopefully producing fruit in 2018, has certainly got local folk talking and discussing how to plant and grow various soft fruit.

Houston Primary School

We are proud of the gardening club - it involves several local volunteers, involves the children in seeing the process of growing food, gets the local community talking about growing produce & hopefully encourages them to do some more of it when they see how well the children's garden performs.

Location: Houston