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Isle of Wight, UK Children's Community Garden

  • Subject: [cg] Isle of Wight, UK Children's Community Garden
  • From: adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 22 Aug 2006 08:39:09 -0400

By Richard Wright
A GROWING project has sown the seeds of success for schoolchildren on Newport allotments.
They have transformed 15 allotments at Pan from a wilderness to productive plots, starting work in the rain and snow of February and completing the first phase of transformation in the baking heat of summer.
And established allotment holders, who were at first reticent about teenagers "invading" the quiet of their hobby, have welcomed the project with open arms.
Now Downside Middle School pupils have taken over some of the land for their evening gardening club and the youngsters, aged between ten and 16, who did the clearance are producing their first crops on the rest.
Downside's involvement in the ambitious scheme was made possible through Downside's extended school budget.
Extended school manager Fran Shelley said: "We have funded the project with the purchase of a greenhouse, a poly tunnel and a large garden shed. Eight of our students regularly get involved."
The transformation was carried out as part of the Workshop Initiative for Support in Education (WISE), which finds alternative vocational activities for youngsters not in mainstream education and those excluded from it.
The Pan project was jointly run by Bridgitt Pearce and Les Brown, from WISE.
Mr Brown said: "The kids have done brilliantly, working in all weathers - and other plotholders have really come on board and supported us.
"When we started the weeds were ten feet high and we have taken off ten ten-ton skiploads of rubbish.
"We then got a mini digger in to level off the land and the lads dug it over by hand.
"They are now growing vegetables and there will be a potting shed and two greenhouses in which to bring on flowers, too.
"When it comes to gardening, the youngsters are so enthusiastic and this scheme has fitted in well with the plan to regenerate Pan."
Steve D'Giacoma, community development manager with the Pan Neighbourhood Partnership which is regenerating Pan, said: "We supported the project and we are absolutely delighted with its success. It's been fantastic.
"Some established allotment holders were reticent at first about having youngsters there but they have gone on to really embrace it.
"Bringing the allotments back and making sure they are a real part of the community again is an important part of regeneration."
Results of the teenagers' hard work were shown off at an open day where the new generation of gardeners were welcomed by allotment holder of ten years Margaret Brady.
A letter of congratulation written by Mrs Brady was read to guests.
In it, she said: "Well done. Keep up the good work.
"You have worked so hard in snow and rain and bitter cold - always with smiling faces, enjoying the outdoor life and gardening.
"What a great improvement to Pan allotments and so good for the children, who are the future allotment tenants. Bless them all."
After the open day Mrs Brady, 64, said: "They are the next generation of allotment holders and are getting the benefit of growing and eating their own organic vegetables - and there's nothing better than that."

Pictures in the Friday, August 25, County Press.
21 August 2006
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