A team of parents, volunteers and children from the Friends of St Paul’s School in Chippenham have been hard at work rejuvenating the school’s Secret Garden play area to make it a great space for the pupils.

The garden make-over team was led by St Paul’s mum and Norland Nanny Natasha Dukes, who explained, “One of the recurring item on our agenda was to rejuvenate an area in the school playground known as ‘The Secret Garden’ which had become overgrown. I love gardening and was keen to give the children a beautiful and peaceful place to enjoy during their breaktimes.

“Our project got off to a cracking start with lots of enthusiastic volunteers from the school and the local community coming together to help. While the early work saw us clearing the undergrowth, it also had the beautiful result of bringing people together- parents formed new friendships and I could see how proud the children felt to have their parents in school helping on a project. Also, by involving the children in the project, the hope is that it will foster a respect and pride for the new garden.”

Natasha added that the garden’s raised beds have been planted with a butterfly and herb garden, with parents calling in for an hour of gardening here and there when they can around their other commitments.

“Many of us are finding the work to be very therapeutic. The bare areas of the garden are starting to take shape with a generous donation of pots, plants and gardening supplies from Morrison’s supermarket. Our next project is the 270 squared metres of weed infused gravel. We are hoping to source some donations of landscaping materials and skip hire then we may be able to complete our project.”

Sheridan Upton, the headteacher at St Paul’s, added, “I have been delighted by the enthusiastic response from our parents and local community in bringing our Secret Garden back to life. This is phase one of the refurbishment. Our committed parents have plans to improve the functionality even further – an opportunity to widen children’s understanding of the living world. We were also fortunate to receive additional resources from Morrison’s since our makeover.

“It’s really important that children have a variety of opportunities available to them during their free-time. The Secret Garden provides that quiet space to be in your own thoughts, read a book or chat quietly with friends – away from the fast-paced games that others enjoy. These experiences are made possible by enthusiastic and committed parents working in partnership with the school to improve outcomes and opportunities for the children – for which we are always very grateful.”

www.st-pauls.wilts.sch.uk