St George’s is a vibrant, diverse primary school where children are given the attention and support to fulfil their potential – to be the ‘best we can be’. We are also a community hub for the residents of the local Patmore Estate, Battersea, SW London.
Our school lies in an area of deprivation significantly greater than the country as a whole. Many of our children have suffered issues brought on by the COVID pandemic as they have no access to safe garden areas and during lockdown some of them were rarely able to leave their flats causing academic and mental impacts.
Our aim is to build a woodland garden where children can play, learn and ultimately heal. A magical place for a forest school, for storytelling and gardening clubs. A place also for the community to gather and celebrate in out of school times.
The site as it was, the plans and the plants we hope to buy:
Key Elements of the garden will include: a storytelling circle, a fire pit/stage/nature table, an area for building dens, boxes to collect bugs and insects and all overlooked by a beautiful Happiness Garden mural. The garden has an awning so it can be used in sun and rain and is designed so that activities can be set up and packed away quickly, with resources stored close by, to provide a space which is multi-functional and accessible for a variety of activities
We are now looking to raise funds to plant fragrant, colourful, nectar rich plants and fruit trees in the garden, mulch for refreshing the soil and to provide seating. These items are key to the garden’s development and absolutely crucial to achieving our Happiness Garden Vision.
Research findings from environmental health, education, and psychology literature show the cognitive, emotional, and physical importance of childhood exposure to nature. Learning and playing outdoors boosts children’s well-being, confidence and behaviour. Our community’s disadvantaged children, who are now suffering poor physical and mental health have a desperate need for a safe space to play, socialise, learn and grow. We believe participating in our Happiness Garden activities can change their lives.
Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Learning in nature boosts children’s well-being, confidence and behaviour"
The school is based in a very urban part of London and so has meagre natural resources but has identified an area to refurbish and has already raised funds to start the project. The Happiness Garden will bring a safe outdoor space to a troubled area, it will be unique locally. It will be jointly used by the school and community, raising the potential user base from 300 to 1,800. Working to create and maintain a beautiful garden and participating in activities will develop strong community connections and lift spirits locally.
The effect of the pandemic has been hugely disrupting to our children’s education. Chaotic, crowded environments made meaningful engagement with online lessons a real challenge for many over the last year. On our children’s return to school, there have been major educational and emotional gaps to deal with. The Happiness Garden would be a valuable asset to our pupils and the whole community as it recovers and rebuilds.
Please help us bring some magic to children’s lives.