Allotments

In 2012/2013 Mr John Collinson from Moorfield Primary School made a bid to the National Lottery Big Lottery Fund to obtain funding for a project within the school grounds.

An outline of the project (Information extracted & adapted from the Lottery Bid submitted):

In recent years the Governing Body and Moorfield Home School Association have been able to fund an extensive school grounds project. Due to the acute pressure on the present school budget, and the current tough financial climate for our families, the planned development for ten community allotment plots has been put on hold. Allotment spaces in and around the Hazel Grove area are at a premium and it is strongly believed that there is a great desire and need for this project to succeed.

The vision for the project is ‘to provide an outdoor learning environment where our young people can work alongside their family members to create a vibrant green space’. This shared vision will result in a community project providing many learning opportunities for our children beyond the school day – we expect that most of the time spend on the plots will be at weekends, during holidays and after school. The project sits within the school’s three year development plan and will work alongside the ‘Forest Schools’ initiative which is being driven nationally.

The newly founded ‘Moorfield Community Allotments Association’ will comprise of the tenants of the plots together with members of the School Council, Governing Body and other key stakeholders from the Community. Ten plots will be cared for by the families from within the Moorfield community.

As a learning community we recognise the need for our young learners to be outside, caring for their environment, for as much as possible. The main thrust of the project is to engage our children with the wider community to enrich and enhance their learning opportunities. There is a clear need for the development of outside spaces in the local area. The opportunity to engage families in the project is an exciting one that will create bonds between family members, families and the school.

There is a clear need within our young community to provide affordable opportunities for young and old alike to engage with, and learn from, one another. Encouraging healthier and more active people and communities – the successful allotment plots will teach our young learners about the need for self-sufficiency and the joy that can be had from growing, and possibly selling, your own produce. School has the status of ‘National Healthy Schools’ and is keen to promote healthy lifestyles. This project clearly has the potential to provide crucial opportunities that will lead to lifelong healthy lifestyle choices. School has recently changed its provider for lunch time meals. The new provider, Taylor Shaw, is keen to involve the children and their families in the development of new, healthier, meals. It is envisaged that some of the produce grown on the allotments will be used as part of this healthy meals initiative.

The Outcomes:

The bid for funding was successful in its aims and an allotment area within the School grounds was created, initially with 10 Plots being created. There is a greenhouse, tool shed, water butts and a compost area. Applications from families to adopt these plots were invited and accepted and at Easter 2013 families started work on their plots.

The school also has plots for the classes to tend and learn about the importance of growing and eating healthy produce – peas are very popular. Around the same time the school started keeping chickens under the supervision of Mr Collinson and all the children at the school have watched the chicks hatch and grow. The Allotment families help feed and care for the chickens at weekends and during the school holidays.

All the children at the school can visit the allotments with their class teachers to see the plots growing and to help with the watering and harvesting of the produce when it is ready.

The Allotment group meet on the first Tuesday of every term to share knowledge, information and ideas. At weekends you will find families working with grandparents planting, watering and weeding their plots.

The initial Plots were so successful that additional funding was secured from the Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund in early 2014 which allowed the number of Plots to be increased by adding a further 8 and these were quickly allocated to waiting families and are now in use.

The Community Allotments are a great achievement and are promoting the growing of healthy foods and healthy eating for the children and their families. The project has also created new friendships within the school and across the local community.

A website has been set up by Mr Holland to celebrate the achievements of all the tenants:

http://www.moorfieldallotment.weebly.com

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