Over 20 pupils from Bishop Stopford School have transformed the front garden for their older neighbours living in the Norton Close Estate – an Enfield Council owned sheltered housing scheme situated directly opposite the school.
A design competition, held in January this year for pupils aged 12 and 13, set the task for the pupils to plan a garden that would be both beautiful and easy to maintain, creating a lovely outdoor space for the residents.
Ardmore provided architectural expertise and £20,000 towards the project and Enfield Council provided £10,000 from its residents’ priority fund.
The landscaping work started in March and was carried out by Ardmore and pupils studying at the school.
Chris Langdon, development director for Ardmore said, “We wanted to play a role in this project looking at the ideas and helping the young people to develop them. We formed a panel of judges with some residents and listened to some exciting presentations in January.
“What has emerged is a marvellous space for older people and a great learning experience for the pupils. But it doesn’t stop there. Gardens need to be maintained and now that the garden is established we know that the young people will be helping to look after it.”
With a dash of imagination and hours of hard digging and planting the garden has sensory areas for those who are partially sighted, bird feeding areas and seating where residents get to know each other.
Accessible pathways and flower beds brimming with colour and texture are just some of the delights of this project and with sustainable energy for lighting the garden can be enjoyed well into the long summer evenings.
Headteacher, Jim Owen, said, “This project has been grasped with enormous enthusiasm by our pupils. The learning experience has covered aspects of planning and design, horticulture and the social interaction between generations. It has been so worthwhile.”
Norton Close residents, Olive Field and Joyce Fenn said, “We really appreciate the garden – and it has been a joy to see our young neighbours working so hard. Our thanks must go to Ardmore and Enfield Council for funding this excellent project which has forged valuable links with the school as well as providing such a beautiful garden.”
Cllr Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for housing, added, “What a splendid example of a community coming together to create such a wonderful garden. We are delighted that Ardmore has been so generous and that our own residents’ priority fund money could support it.”
Using skills developed by pupils and the growing partnership with Ardmore, next year pupils will tackle the sixth form garden area and learn about managing the food produced from nearby allotments for local residents and school kitchens.