This year Old Town School won Arla’s Kids Closer to Nature grant.  The grants scheme opened in January 2011 to offer individuals, schools and communities around the UK the opportunity to apply for grants to create spaces which encourage nature in their local area. Within the space of two months Arla received over 600 entries from across the UK, each with a strong claim as to why they deserved to be awarded a grant.  The entries were judged by a panel of leading nature experts including: TV naturalist Chris Packham; TV presenter, producer and mum-of-three Philippa Forrester; and Arla Foods.

Old Town School’s entry entitled Old Town School Garden impressed judges with the level of planning and effort that had gone into developing the project, and its ability to get kids closer to nature.

Philippa Forrester commented on Old Town School’s winning entry:
“It was so tough judging Arla’s grants scheme, the amount of thought and effort that went into the entries was wonderful to see. I was really impressed by Old Town School’s entry. Their garden project is really original and creative, and it is obvious how passionately the school and the community feel about helping local children to access nature. Many congratulations to them!”

With the wonderful encouragement and foresight of the Community Centre Committee, the village school looked at how the school children could manage the land around the Community Center.  The project is a fantastic springboard for the kids to be a part of and understand the natural environment.  They have created a list of things they would like to see happen on the land:

- pretty flowers to look at
- bee and butterfly friendly flower garden
- create habitats for insects and bugs
- grow vegetables
- plant fruit trees and bushes
- give our vegetables to the luncheon club (who provide free meals to the elderly)
- sell our vegetables or ask for a donation
- grow flowers that are edible

The teachers are also very enthusiastic and have already looked at how they can change their curriculum to incorporate school time on the plot for every class. The children will not only learn about their environment; but they can be a part of, help manage and be responsible for their surroundings and their community.

If you feel you can help in any way please contact the school.