In 2018, Jo Heath, LIFE Manager based at the Youth Centre in Frimley Green, sparked the transition towards an eco-friendly environment within the college community.
Forming the Centre’s Eco-Committee proved a vital seed for change.
Our trustee Bernard and membership secretary Annie got involved and have been helping to develop the garden and mentor the students.
Students and staff took up the challenge and created an action plan for improvement. Having canvassed ideas, they drew up detailed mood boards to show their vision of the grounds and how they could not only be adapted their needs but be wildlife friendly too.
With everyone engaged, this effort led to constructing raised vegetable beds, a pond, bird boxes and a hedgehog house. New flower beds were dug to soften the edges of the buildings, then a plum tree, cherry tree and finally a crab apple were planted to provide fruit.
The radical transformation of the community has been nothing but positive for this small yet tightly knit band of individuals who have been offered a second chance at education.
The 16 year-old committee chair, Liam, is a firm believer in the positive impact of cytokinins (a tree growth hormone that excites endorphin production) in raising our moods. “The joint effort of production of the pond, flower beds, trees and crops has created a soothing haven for both staff and students.”
Now there is a smart new decking area which provides the opportunity for outdoor learning too.
The 2020 Centre illustrates a paradigm shift in attitudes. The advent of this work has made centre users also more eco-friendly in their everyday lives. Rethinking waste management and improving sustainability has led to recycling bins, re-using supermarket leftovers to fill the food gap and composting garden weeds and leaves. The team are justly proud of their litter free-site.
Despite Covid, work has continued on site. A new fragrant hedge of hyssop, rosemary and lavender was tucked behind the newly painted picket fence. Thanks to community donations, more plants for pollinators and spring bulbs were added as part of gardening mentoring when the new intake returned.