Environmentally Minded Students Inspire Canalside Garden
Through the Paddington Partnership Community Programme, local businesses have been supporting the transformation of an area of land in Little Venice into a thriving outdoor classroom for pupils at Edward Wilson Primary School.
Inspired by a group of Year 6 pupils who were keen to do more to care for the local environment, the school approached Canal & River Trust and were offered the enclosed space as part of the charity’s canal adoption programme.
The pupils’ vision is that the garden will become a thriving space for plants and wildlife, where their peers can grow fruit and vegetables, study nature and spend time in the fresh air with all the associated benefits for physical and mental health.
“We imagine this as a garden full of flowers, a wild meadow with vegetables and herbs growing. We imagine pupils sitting here drawing life cycles and bird spotting. We imagine pupils at Edward Wilson falling in love with nature and wanting to protect it and learn about it. We imagine our community seeing us caring about nature, tending to this space, looking after it and being inspired to do the same." Mayesha, Year 6
Paddington based companies, under the guidance of Canal River Trust, have been helping to realise this vision. In November, construction firm Laing O'Rourke marked the company’s green week by constructing stools from recycled pallets. The eco-friendly flatpack furniture was designed by two employees who taught the rest of their colleagues how to build them in a Blue Peter style session.
In May, Heathrow Express lent a hand to prepare the garden for its official opening. The team litter picked the site, pruned overgrown vegetation and generally spruced up the space before the red ribbon was cut.
The opening on 21 May was an opportunity for the children to address teachers, parents and members of the community with their plans and hopes for the space; as well as challenging the open day guests to discuss the impact of different environmental concerns.
Since the launch, colleagues from Kingfisher’s Sustainability Department have joined forces to continue to develop the garden – sanding and varnishing benches, weeding and filling the raised beds with compost, planting insect-loving bushes and lavender, rosemary and thyme to create sweet-smelling beds.
“We’re so pleased to see how all the different organisations have come together on such a brilliant project right on the water’s edge in Little Venice. It just shows what can be done when people join forces. We’re delighted that the school pupils will turn the area into an edible garden and continue to use it as a space to learn. We look forward to watching their progress.”
Jeannette Brooks, Canal & River Trust, Community and Engagement Manager.
The garden will continue to need the support of local corporate volunteers, to help the children to maintain and develop the space. If you would like to help the garden to grow, please contact Emily, for further details of opportunities.