Staff dig in to give pupils a special school garden

THE great outdoors has come one step closer for pupils at a Motherwell school.

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Honeywell workers made sure the pupils got their special garden
Honeywell workers made sure the pupils got their special garden

In the spring, when flowers bloom and the garden bursts into life, it will be a sensory treat for the youngsters at Bothwellpark High, catering to pupils with a range of additional support needs.

The work to transform the existing garden means much more than just providing a new look for the outdoor area. Now youngsters who can't get outside on their own have the freedom to explore within a safe environment.

Head teacher Maria Neil thanked staff at the nearby Honeywell factory in Newhouse who gave up their time to do the work.

She said: "Many of the students who come to our school do not have access to garden areas. Our vision is to provide each pupil with an enhanced awareness of self-advocacy, independence, responsibility and respect for themselves and others.

"Sensory gardens provide an improved learning experience for them. The Honeywell volunteers worked with us to realise our vision and the school now has the environment we have desired for many years. This is very exciting and I know our students will be enthusiastic and motivated by their surroundings."

Now wind chimes tinkle in the breeze, grass, gravel, bark and monobloc have been laid and, in the Spring, swatches of fragrant plants will be put in. There are also seating areas, a willow tunnel and natural screening to make the garden a personal space.

The garden was funded with £7000 from Honeywell's corporate citizenship initiative Hometown Solutions. It is quite a coup for the staff at Newhouse as this is the first time a project outside the US has received money from the fund.

Stephen Fowler, Newhouse campus director for Honeywell, said: "I went there to build a garden and was overwhelmed by the reaction from the kids once they saw it.

"I realised we'd done so much more than building a garden.

"Getting the kids out of the classroom and into the fresh air was what the teachers were enthusing about. They can now use the garden all year round."

He adds: "A team from Honeywell worked with the school to design the garden, they knew what they needed so we took their ideas and put that into something they could use."

It took more than 30 workers from Honeywell two days to clear the site and build the garden. Stephen said the school is close to their heart.

He added: "Honeywell organisations are encouraged to do something in their home town. Motherwell is very much part of the Newhouse community and a lot of people who work here live locally.

"We chose this school as we felt it would be helpful to provide it with additional support."

angela.mcmanus@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

Home and Garden

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