Blue Coats and Green Fingers!

At the start of the autumn term, a small space of land was cleared at the very far end of the back lawn. This space was soon awash with lumber, wooden sleepers and lining sheets. What happened over the following few weeks was transformational.

The lumber and wooden sleepers were fashioned into squares, the lining sheets were attached to the inside and they were filled with mulch and soil. Suddenly, the School had its very own community garden!

Pupils in Years 7 and 8 have not only prepared the vegetable patches, but have also planted rows of cauliflower, broccoli, onions and cabbage. These should be hardy enough to grow throughout the winter, before more seeds are sown in February 2021.

Inspiration came from Mrs Gemma Mitchell, who recognised the opportunity to do our bit to help end child hunger and food poverty. It is something she feels passionately about and is just one element of the School’s Aldworth Partnership. The garden itself was designed by Miss Barbie Truman who has her own allotment. Miss Truman said ‘The garden design is simple but enables us to extend the beds should this become successful. During the summer, Duke of Edinburgh students will take over responsibility, as part of their volunteering option, for keeping the beds watered and weeded during holidays and weekends. We also hope to create flower beds which we can give to the school to use in the flower arrangements!’

Mrs Mitchell has also set up links with Freely Fruity, who appeared on the BBC’s The One Show. Their aim is to produce as much fruit and vegetables possible to donate to local families. Blue Coat’s Year 9 and 10 students help Freely Fruity with plant care and maintenance during their weekly Activities sessions.

Inspired by Freely Fruity Mrs Mitchell said, ‘Our vegetables and produce will go to the Grub club, a part of the Share Wokingham organisation. This organisation operates within Wokingham and is looking to establish a centre in Woodley. The Share Wokingham team will be using our vegetables to cook and deliver healthy meals to low income families during the holiday periods. The vegetables will also be used to create food parcels that will be distributed to families with the aim of teaching young people how to cook using local and fresh produce.’

The Community Garden is currently in need of poly tunnels to protect the plants from our resident rabbits and deer, small trowels and forks and compost to help keep the plants healthy over the winter. If you are able to help, the Community Garden team would be exceptionally grateful.


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