In November and December 2013 we posted blog reports about the 'Big Build' project that we've been doing in the garden with Year Six children and staff from Gatton School, and with TTT volunteers.
We ran this for seven weeks, and today we managed to get all the main parties together to celebrate the successful completion of the project, and thank everyone who contributed.
YES it rained a lot in January, and the water butts are full: with a theatrical flourish we lifted the lid off one of them and gazed admiringly at the beautiful water.
NO we don't need the water now! But last summer we ran out completely, and we want to garden within the natural limits of the place. Accommodating unpredicatable weather is going to be a key growing skill in the future!
And as well as creating a tangible result with the project, we went through a fascinating process over the series of sessions with the children and volunteers. To see all the past TTT blog entries for highlights and pictures, click on Gatton School in the menu bar at the top, below the blog title.
And we'll share our learning as a practical case study.
Today, eight children combined to give a speech they wrote themselves about the project (and also said a bit about the whole experience of coming to the garden). If you would like to read the whole speech by the children , please click here. Here are some of their delightful words:
"Our newest project, to build a 'state of the art' water shelter, was an experience that none of us will forget. We helped to saw the wood, make concrete (not cement!) and build the structure. I doubt if any other experience we have will beat this one."
"All this has been a phenomenal and amazing experience for us. We have not only benefited by learning to make a difference to the community that we live in but also how to be worthy citizens who are aware of what being eco-friendly really means."
"For some of us, who have only seen vegetables in the supermarket, we were amazed to find out that potatoes grow underground and that sunflowers grow as big as our heads!"
We were also very pleased to welcome Naseem Aboobaker from Mushkil Aasaan, the local social care service which owns the garden site. In 2011 she talked to us in TTT about using the land for a community garden. Thank you, and we appreciate that trust!
Thanks to Malik Gul of the Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network for joining us, too.
More thanks to Richard who designed the structure - without his energy (and tools), the project would have remained just another nice idea.
And respect to all the volunteers - twelve of us - who have been flexible and amazingly cheerful!
Gatton School funded the water butts, the new timber and roofing materials: thank you! Special gratitude to the school kitchen for making the delicious tiffin today.
Most thanks are due to the 60 Year Six children who were so involved with this.
Now we'll aim to develop something together for the spring and summer which will catch all our imaginations in the same way - and link with the School's Eco Project. We're continuing to offer outdoor learning with the Reception classes, too.
If you would like to contribute to this school project, or join in with other Community Garden activities, please email us