Allot-ment of fun at roof-top garden

Wallsend pupils with some of their roof-top produce.
Wallsend pupils with some of their roof-top produce.
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Green-fingered youngsters have been having allot-ment of fun at a shopping centre.

Pupils from Richardson Dees Primary School in Wallsend have been busy tending to the roof-top garden at The Forum.

The garden idea came from centre manager Nick Lambert, who was keen to develop the centre’s partnership with the school, by providing the pupils with a space which they could cultivate.

In just a couple of months, the eight to 10-year-olds have transformed the garden into a little oasis, thanks to their commitment and enthusiasm.

As well as flowers, they have been growing a range of delicious fruit, vegetables and herbs fit for the kitchen table. When they are ripe and ready for harvest, they will pick the produce to share with their fellow pupils and their families.

Teaching assistant Laura Wilson, who co-ordinates the school’s gardening, said: “The benefits for the children being involved in this project are wide ranging – as well as learning more about gardening, it promotes healthy eating choices as they sample the produce they have grown from seeds.

“The project gives the pupils a sense of responsibility and brings their learning alive, as they see the seeds that they have planted grow and flourish. The roof garden also provides a relaxed and informal environment for the children to increase their confidence and self-esteem.”

Nick added: “We are committed to further developing our relationships with local schools, such as Richardson Dees Primary School, and other groups in the community.

“By partnering with the school to deliver a fun, hands-on activity for the children to get involved with, we have transformed a previously unused space into garden with a seed to plate ethos, complete with a greenhouse and raise beds.

“One of the great things about this project is as has progressed, the pupils knowledge has grown, their confidence has soared and they have now taken ownership of the space, making suggestions and leading decisions concerning the garden.”