As ANN FOTHERINGHAM discovered, a £500 grant helped transform the garden at Hampden School
PUPILS at a primary school will enjoy a beautiful garden and outdoor learning space, thanks to help from the Evening Times and hard-working youngsters.
Our community campaign Streets Ahead, teaming up with Action For Children Scotland, gave Hampden School £500 for gardening equipment and hanging baskets and the charity's volunteers worked hard to create the area for pupils.
The school, which is for youngsters with complex learning needs, has 53 pupils and the aim was to transform an area at the back of the playground into a sensory garden and mini-allotment.
Head teacher Mary Cloughley said: "This was just an empty bit of land and the volunteers from Action for Children have worked so hard to transform it into a little Eden for our pupils.
"It is a safe, accessible haven where our children can explore their environment. We can use it as an outdoor classroom but it is also a relaxing, lovely place to spend time in.
"The generous donation from the Streets Ahead campaign has allowed us to put up hanging baskets, specially chosen to include winter flowers, which will really brighten up the gloomy days ahead."
Around 40 young people not in education, employment or training took part in the partnership between Streets Ahead and Action for Children Scotland's Inspiring Scotland Challenges programme.
The programme is to benefit the young people who participate, who often go on to further training and development, and communities.
As well as mending damaged benches, painting woodwork and planting flowers at the school, the young volunteers even painted inside the building when the torrential summer rain prevented them working outdoors.
William Glover, 16, from Penilee, took part. He said: "We turned our hands to whatever had to be done to get the garden looking good and whenever it started raining we went straight inside and began painting walls.
"It felt good to have a reason to get up every day and have something to do with my days.
"The experience was good too – I have started a six-month construction course at Clydebank College and the skills I developed on the challenge at Hampden School are coming in handy."
City councillor Stephen Curran said: "The new garden is a wonderful addition to the school."
The volunteers also helped transform the grounds of Easthall Park Housing Co-operative accommodation in Easterhouse, replacing an existing 90-yard path with new stone bricks and repainting handrails around properties. They also revamped the garden at Stoneside Short Breaks in Eastwood.
This service, run by Action for Children, provides support and respite care to more than 80 disabled children and their families every year.
The volunteers constructed a play swing and shed, decking, flower and vegetable pods and a seated area, surrounded by colourful flower boxes.
The new garden will be of huge benefit to Stoneside, providing a pleasant place to play outdoors and allowing children to grow their own plants and vegetables.
James Cantley, of Action for Children Scotland, said: "The work carried out by our challenge teams is hugely appreciated by the community.
"I know the children who attend Stoneside Short Breaks service and Hampden Primary are particularly pleased with their new gardens.
"Inspiring Scotland Challenges are the perfect fit for the Evening Times' Streets Ahead campaign; both help people make a positive difference to the area where they live.
"We are very grateful for the donation of tools, which will allow us to continue extending Challenges across Glasgow, and the hanging baskets, which serve as a lasting reminder of the good work carried out at Stoneside Short Breaks and Hampden Primary."