Friends of Gilesgate Primary School and School Fayre
Our school allotment started life in October 2013 after we had received a National Lottery grant to transform a piece of waste land.
Using parent power and Saturday morning sessions we were able to complete the following work in the first year:
- Parents and children cleared the site of building rubble
- Parents dug a trench for a drainage pipe
- Each child measured cut or screwed together timber to make the raised beds
- Parents installed the raised beds
- Parents and children moved 30 tons of compost to fill the raised beds then 18 tons of limestone chippings to make the paths.
- Parents and children planted the orchard
- Parent helpers installed the paving stone path
- Northumbria Water excavated the hole for the hidden water tank
- Parent helpers installed the tank, and the paving that hides it.
- Parent helpers assembled and installed the greenhouse.
Summer 2014 saw our first crop and the following year; we entered the Beautiful Durham competition where we won ‘Best Group Horticultural Project’. Since then, we have entered this competition and either won or received a certificate of merit each year. We have also been awarded best overall entry on two occasions: in 2019 and 2021.
Since that first year, and under the guidance of Ron Potter, our allotment has gone from strength to strength. Each year we have added something new. Tables for outdoor learning, composting bins, a shed for an outdoor toilet and a fire pit area. Flower beds, grape vines, a soft fruit area and a poly tunnel.
Ron has been joined by Barry, who is another community helper, and Barry has done a brilliant job in looking after the allotment in school holidays to make sure our crop is watered and tended when the children are not here. He has also provided and assembled the poly tunnel and has worked hard this winter with Ron to build new raised beds.
This year parent helpers have joined Ron and Barry to move building materials into the allotment so that the original, wooden raised beds can be replaced with some built from concrete blocks and whilst this work has progressed, we have installed some more ground drainage and a small pond.
It has been an amazing journey to see parents, children and helpers from the community work together to make an outdoor space that is so special. As one of our children commented when schools re-opened during the COVID pandemic, “I love this place; I feel safe here.”
Parents are always welcome on the Saturday morning allotment days and your work is invaluable in making changes, carrying out repairs and getting the raised beds ready for planting in spring. The allotment is a fantastic asset for our science curriculum and food we grow is eaten by the children, used in cooking, or taken home. Each autumn we sell the last of the autumn crop to raise money to buy the seeds for the next year.
In 2021 our school and community allotment was awarded Gold in Northumbria in Bloom, which is the highest standard and we were recognised as the best school allotment in the Northumbria in Bloom region. We were also outright winners of Beautiful Durham for the second time, as well as the best Educational Group Project. In addition, because of our work in supporting Durham City’s entry into Britain in Bloom, the Royal Horticultural Society asked to film our work alongside the Botanic Gardens and Wharton Park. Some of that film footage can be found on the RHS You Tube Chanel (see links below) and some of that footage is currently being developed by the BBC for their BBC Bitesize learning materials to support the teaching of citizenship and the environment.
In 2022, once again, we were awarded Gold in Northumbria in Bloom, and we were recognised as the best school allotment in the Northumbria in Bloom region. In addition, Mr. Turner was presented with a Community Champion Award.
We also re-introduced our Big Soup Share in October 2022 where parents and children harvested the last of the crop and took it to school for volunteers to turn into soup whilst the children and parents continued to tidy up the allotment for winter. Afterwards we all sat down to a well-earned bowl of soup and parents were able to take home any produce that was left.
These awards are amazing, and we could not have achieved them without the help of Ron, Barry the parent volunteers and children. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has helped and who continues to help our allotment be the success that it is.
Queen’s Green Canopy
We are delighted to confirm your Jubilee tree planting has been uploaded to The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) map.
Please find attached your QGC virtual plaque, which we invite you to share on social media using the hashtag #QueensGreenCanopy or #plantatreeforthejubilee to encourage others across the UK to get involved.
Please follow our digital channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we will be sharing Jubilee tree plantings throughout the official planting season, which is from October to March. With your planting complete, it is important to take care of your trees to give them the best chance of flourishing.
Our Protect page features all the information you need to ensure your planting flourishes.
Thank you for your contribution to this special initiative, which we hope will inspire countless others. With your support we are creating a greener UK and a legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations.
The Queen’s Green Canopy
RHS You Tube Channel for RHS Community Awards 2021
RHS Community Awards for Cultivating Your Community
Community Allotment Gallery
Click on any thumbnail to view as a slideshow: