[A]n area of Sedbergh Primary School that had become derelict and out-of-bounds has been transformed into a science and wildlife garden, with support from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).
The vibrant outdoor space – which includes a poly-tunnel, bug hotel, wormery and rock garden, as well as a raised teaching area – was formally opened last week (Wed 18 Oct).
The SDF contributed £9,900 to the project, which was initiated by the school’s Parent, Teachers and Friends Association.
The National Park Authority’s Member Champion for the Natural Environment, Ian McPherson, who lives in Sedbergh, attended the opening and said the garden was a great new asset for the school and wider community:
“The additional outdoor learning space will encourage pupils at Sedbergh Primary to develop an interest in – perhaps even a love of – nature. That can only be a good thing. We need young people who are environmentally-aware, and who are keen to both enjoy and help enhance the natural wonders of the National Park.”
Pupils will be closely involved in the management of the science and wildlife garden. Indeed, responsibility for it will lie with the children’s School Council group. The group will have a budget – held within the PTFA budget – to secure the garden’s upkeep.
Sedbergh Primary School Headteacher Matthew Towe said: “The science and wildlife garden is a safe and well organised learning environment. It provides our children with a fantastic place to enhance their school experience – and a place where they can think and at times just be.
“I’d like to thank all the people and the organisations that have made this project possible, including the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. We hope to develop links with local groups to ensure the space is used by the wider community.”
He added: “A bike park has been installed as part of the project. This has been a massive success, with many children cycling to school each day.”
Sedbergh Primary School funds helped pay for the project. Grants also came from Sedbergh Community Trust and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Gifts were received from the community, including astro turf for the teaching area from Sedbergh Golf Club.
The SDF makes funding available for projects by individuals, businesses, community groups or voluntary sector organisations. It supports those contributing in some way to looking after the National Park’s natural beauty, wildlife or cultural heritage – and as such providing some local economic or community benefit.
Details of the SDF can be found at yorkshiredales.org.uk/sdf