Dawn James, Horticulture Lecturer at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus, took three Level 1 students to Ox Close Primary School in Spennymoor in May to help set up their vegetable and fruit garden. This was as part of the school’s very first School and Community Gardening Event.
The aims of the project are to develop currently underused land into a community garden, create a high-quality learning resource that is sustainable, fulfils a range of functions and serves the needs of the local community and to provide a stimulating environment with levels of challenge to keep everyone interested and aspiring to achieve more.
Louise Shepherd, the Family Support Assistant from Ox Close Primary School, said, “A very special thank you to Dawn James, from Houghall and members of the Greenways Residents Association, who kindly helped us initiate our first school gardening projects.”
Sedgefield Borough Council agreed to donate £57,548.00 from its Local Improvement Programme (LIP) towards the community garden project. This funding has enabled them to begin work to create phase one of the plan, which includes the growing area and wildlife area.
Dawn added, “It was great to work with the Ox Close pupils they were so enthusiastic. I’m also delighted with way our students helped and encouraged the children.”
Six weeks later and the gardens are thriving. Louise said “The plants are all doing fantastic and we are nearly ready to start harvesting some of them. The children are really excited about trying our home grown veg. We also have funding to set up more growing areas and are looking at planting fruit trees which will be very exciting.”