Corporate Social Responsibility – Gardening Club
Spadeoak roll up their sleeves and give back to the community.
In the Spring of 2020 Bourne End Academy, a co-educational secondary school in Bourne End, catering for 800 pupils a year from the ages of 11 to 18 and local to the Spadeoak Head Office, launched an after-school Gardening club based at the local Parish allotment site.
A school garden is a much-needed green space, giving students an opportunity to spend time outdoors. School gardens build important life-long social skills and teach responsibility, communication, teamwork, ownership, and leadership.
Although greatly attended, the gardening club had one issue, with such short school lunch breaks and the allotment a good walk away from the school, societies had a very restricted time frame, visits to the allotment were rushed, limiting the activities the pupils could participate in.
To support the student’s participation and provide as much time dedicated to the gardening club as possible, the Bourne End Academy allocated a plot of land on the school grounds behind the science and construction department to become a dedicated Gardening club space, with access to an outside water tap and rainwater drain pipes that will collect the rain in water butts, it was a perfect location to relocate however slightly steep.
To rejuvenate the area and provide the ideal gardening club location a project was launched with Spadeoak to mechanically landscape the area from a sloping grassed verge to a level that will provide access for all students. Raised sleeper beds were built to support students of all ages and abilities to grow vegetables, fruit, and flowers that were easily accessible.
The plans include a section of the plot becoming a biodiverse wildflower sensory garden including a wildlife pond. These elements of the project will support the growth of pond life and amphibians and give a greater understanding to the pupils of the lentic ecosystem.
To minimise disruption to the school Spadeoak completed these works during the half-term holidays so the area was ready for the new school term.
Ian Blazey from Bourne End Academy said “These works have allowed the well-attended gardening club to be accessed much easier and by a greater number of students. We are able to run clubs after school throughout the week and during lunch breaks, maximising the time the students have to grow flowers, fruit and vegetables”.
“The garden will also provide space for ARP (Special Needs) Support students who would benefit from respite away from the mainstream students and the school’s internal environment. The school has a large SEN student population and gardening is known to help with mental well-being and confidence. This project has opened the club to many more students within the school and we would like to thank Spadeoak for their support”.
Jeff Russell of Spadeoak said “Spadeoak were delighted to support Bourne End Academy with this project, as a local business established in 1976 we are committed to supporting the local community. For this particular project we donated sleepers for the raised bed and dedicated an accumulated 56 hours of community volunteering time by myself and the team”.
We would like to thank all involved, including Bees Knees Sandwich Bar who kindly donated some breakfast for the team during the project and look forward to seeing the area busy, flowered and full of colour from the fruit and vegetables.
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