As allotment gardeners, we are keen to promote the joys and responsibilities of allotment gardening, and of the natural world to children of all ages. Whilst we can do this informally on our sites and plots with children, grandchildren and friends, as an organisation we can reach a far wider audience of primary school-aged children (Key Stages 1&2) by supporting existing, or launching new initiatives in our local schools.
We have been providing small bursaries to those primary schools in Barnstaple that either have an established gardening club, or have expressed a desire to establish gardening activities on school premises/nearby allotment plots. This year we have given the amount of Thirty Pounds (£30.00) per school, to help with the costs of purchasing seeds, compost or other growing medium, trays, labels, etc., whilst allowing the schools to determine exactly how to use the funds. We have received the following feedback from the schools:-
" We purchased a self-rolling hose pipe for the children to use. They are very much enjoying it! A big thank you again from all the children in the gardening club & Mr Chappell (our parent helper)". Pilton Bluecoats C of E Primary School (2015)
'Thank you so much for the £30 contribution to our gardening activities this term. We have three large raised beds looking very sorry for themselves and we plan to use your money to buy seeds/plants and more importantly try to foster a life long love of gardening'. Very many thanks! Our Lady's Catholic Primary School (2015)
'We have purchased some compost, kneelers for the children and some seeds and are making a start on planting this week. Thank you once again for the donation. It has been very gratefully received'. Forches Cross Primary School (2015)
'Again we would like to say thank you for your kind donation, we have spent the money on some new secateurs, enabling the children to learn more about propagation and generally being able to keep the area bramble free'. Sticklepath Primary School (2015)
'We spent the money on various sizes of waterproof trousers which the children can wear over their school uniform. In the past they have only been allowed to garden if they remembered their own clothes from home. Now they can garden anytime - especially when it is wet and muddy! I had hoped to get a picture of them wearing them to send you, but ironically, on the majority of the days I do the Gardening Club, the sun is shining. Many thanks again for supporting the Pilton Infant School Gardening Club' (2015)
In June of last year (2014), several association members gave a conducted tour of the Sunnybank allotment site to a party of twelve school children from the nearby Ashleigh Road School. These children, together with their teacher, classroom assistant and two student teachers found the visit interesting and enjoyable, not least because they were able to snack on some very tasty strawberries from one of the plots.