The Mersey Gateway Project

Green-fingered Halton pupils ready to go in new school allotment

November 3, 2016MerseylinkNews

Pupils from a Halton primary school are getting ready to flex their ‘green fingers’ in their new allotment – thanks to a helping hand from bridge builder Merseylink.

With no school field and little opportunity for experiencing nature, teachers at St Edward’s Catholic Primary School in Runcorn were in need of some extra help to bring a much-desired school allotment project to life.

Pupils from St Edward’s Catholic Primary School in Runcorn celebrate the opening of their new allotment

Following a successful application to Merseylink’s Time Bank scheme, the school now has a new allotment that boasts raised beds, compost bins, water butts and secure wooden storage – plus a large timber shelter that can be used for outdoor classroom activities.

Pupils are looking forward to planting up their new raised beds

The whole area has been finished off with a wooden fence, giving the space a natural look and feel. And with the allotment in place, green-fingered youngsters are busy planning next year’s crops.

The new school allotment includes a large timber shelter that can be used for outdoor classroom activities

Karen O’Hare, Headteacher at St Edward’s Catholic Primary School, said: “We are a small school in a built-up area with no school field to use but our children are all keen to plant and grow vegetables and fruit. Some of the younger children have grown potatoes, carrots and tomatoes in tubs, but due to the size of our grounds we haven’t been able to take it any further.

“Merseylink has done so much more with the area than we thought possible. The standard of workmanship is very high and an area that was previously useless has been completely transformed into a wonderful allotment. The children are really excited to start planting and making use of it.”

Time Bank was set up to provide practical help and support to local community projects, schools, colleges and the local authority. It works by matching successful applicants with Merseylink’s industry experts and suppliers who give their time to provide professional advice and support.

Merseylink’s environmental consultants AECOM and Barnard Engineering provided technical advice and landscape design, while scaffolding company Altrad NSG donated scaffolding planks that were upcycled into raised beds.

Pupils and teachers with the Merseylink team, which helped to create the new school allotment

Construction workers also gave up their time to complete the building work, which included laying 50 tonnes of stone chippings and erecting the timber shelter.

Neil Wilcock, Merseylink’s Employment and Skills Coordinator, said: “It’s important for children learn where their food comes from so we’re delighted to have been able to support this fantastic project. The children now have a safe, outdoor environment that they can use to get closer to nature whatever the weather. I’d like to thank our team and generous suppliers who have worked extremely hard to turn this dream into a reality for the school.”

Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “It’s fantastic that Merseylink has been able to help St Edward’s school with their allotment. I do hope the schoolchildren now and in years to come can enjoy and benefit from learning in the wonderful outside area. Projects such as this illustrate how Time Bank is leaving a lasting Mersey Gateway legacy across the borough.”

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