ST JOSEPH’S SCHOOL in Longsight, Manchester, has celebrated the opening of a brand-new sensory garden that will provide recently returned students with a place to escape and relax, following a donation from the North West team at Lovell Homes.
The coronavirus lockdown was a difficult time for many, including school children all over the country. St Joseph’s head teacher Liz Eccles and teacher Warrick Bourne, decided that the school would focus on the positive aspect of the children getting to spend more time outside and reconnecting with nature by transforming unused space into a sensory garden.
Lovell Homes North West, led by social value manager Paul Woby, provided funding for building materials such as timber, fixings, stone, and ballast to complete the sensory garden project as well as the outdoor glockenspiel and drum. The team also provided bird feeders to encourage wildlife into the area. Plants were donated by Ladybrook Plant Nursery with school volunteers bringing the vision to life.
Paul Woby said: “I was instantly onboard with the school’s plan to revitalise an underutilised area to create a sensory garden for the students. Lockdown has been difficult for everyone, but its particularly hard for children who have been taken away from their usual routine of going to school and seeing their friends. We hope this garden supports their return; providing a place to enjoy their natural surroundings as well as getting some space and having time to reflect if needed.”
Liz Eccles, headteacher at St Jospeh’s School, added: “We wanted a garden that was more than just an aesthetic feature and we’ve certainly achieved that. The garden excites the senses with different flower beds featuring tactile, aromatic, and visually stimulating plants. We’re also excited by the insect and bee attracting features of the garden. By having a multi-aspect, accessible garden, we can cater to children of all needs and offer an educational and cathartic experience.”
Lovell Homes, the national housebuilder behind the city’s popular Platting Village development approached the school as part of its long-term social value programme, which sees it work to build links with local communities whilst encouraging new skills and talent to enter the industry. This commitment included the promotion of Paul Woby to social value manager at the start of 2020. The role sees Paul engaging with schools and colleges, supporting apprentices and trainees to get them involved with community projects across the region.