Garden project provides support for youngsters

Service Six staff Jaime Dunkley and Katie Marsh join 11-year-olds James Balderson, Ayden Tait, Kimberley Neighbour and Luke Brewster in the vegetable plot

Service Six staff Jaime Dunkley and Katie Marsh join 11-year-olds James Balderson, Ayden Tait, Kimberley Neighbour and Luke Brewster in the vegetable plot

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Primary school children who have experienced difficulties in their lives have received support through a new gardening project.

Olympic Primary School, in Wellingborough, received a grant from the Community Foundation, to deliver an allotment project in partnership with Service Six.

The project sees year six pupils who have previously displayed behavioural difficulties, growing and tending to plants at the new garden on the school site.

Claudia Slabon, assistant chief executive at Service Six, said: “The idea behind the project was to allow children who have experienced difficulties in their life to have some relaxation time in a place where they can experience the environment, show respect for living things and regain confidence and self-esteem.

“The project has brought more benefits to the children than we could have hoped for. They are able to receive support from staff on a more one-to-one basis and outside of the classroom environment, they have enjoyed watching their seeds develop and learning about them, and they have looked after them with great care. Many of the children haven’t had the responsibility of looking after anything before, so this is a real turning point.”

The six pupils chosen for the project visit the garden twice a week after school when they spend more than an hour outside, learning about nature and how to grow vegetation.

They are supported by teaching staff and Service Six youth workers.

Youth worker Dani Bailey said: “While tending to the plants we discuss everyday things and get to know the children. When something difficult comes up for them we have the relationship to support them. The children really do work hard at the sessions.”

Service Six thanked local builder John Clark, who volunteered his time to help prepare the plots. For more information visit www.servicesix.co.uk.