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Manor Fields Community Garden: East Herts Council seed funds ambitious plans at Bishop's Stortford primary school




An eco-friendly community garden – featuring a solar-powered greenhouse that doubles as a classroom and a seasonal outdoor space – is taking root at a Bishop's Stortford primary school.

Ina White is organising the project on behalf of Manor Fields School Association (MFSA) – and with the help of £5,400 seed funding from East Herts Council, she hopes the green shoots of progress will be revealed to visitors in November.

Meanwhile, she and the team have to cultivate a crowdfunded campaign to bring their plans to fruition.

Manor Fields Primary, Bishop's Stortford. Head teacher Helen Smith and project manager Ina White on the site of the new greenhouse centrepiece of the school garden project. .Pic Vikki Lince. (41636605)
Manor Fields Primary, Bishop's Stortford. Head teacher Helen Smith and project manager Ina White on the site of the new greenhouse centrepiece of the school garden project. .Pic Vikki Lince. (41636605)

She said: "MFSA is very grateful for East Herts Council's grant award for their help to get this project off the ground. Their support meant that the project was able to transition from paper to the real world.

"We need further support to complete this project. We have recently started our crowdfunding campaign, for which we are aiming to raise £5,000."

The association is creating an indoor and an outdoor space which will benefit classes at Thorley Park's Manor Fields Primary School and the wider community.

The site of the greenhouse centrepiece of the school garden project. Picture: Vikki Lince (41339085)
The site of the greenhouse centrepiece of the school garden project. Picture: Vikki Lince (41339085)

Ina said: "The Manor Fields Community Garden, equipped with a large, eco-friendly greenhouse and outdoor seasonal garden, will bring local people together to create something positive and uplifting after all the recent uncertainty in the world."

The project will teach children and local residents how to grow fruit and vegetables, educate on healthy eating and how to protect the environment.

Split into two parts, it will feature a large greenhouse, complete with solar power, which will double as a classroom and a year- round, Mediterranean-themed sanctuary.

The eco-friendly outdoor space will be a seasonal garden where young and old alike can learn about the journey from seed to plate with the opportunity for ecologists, professional gardeners and chefs to share their knowledge.

It will also provide a calming, sensory setting for the five per cent of pupils at Manor Fields who have special educational needs and 30% who need nurturing and support with social skills.

These benefits will also be shared by Grove Cottage, Bishop's Stortford's Mencap charity based in London Road. Children who attend its nursery and members of its range of evening clubs will be welcome to enjoy the new and stimulating surroundings.

The community ethos will continue with opportunities for users of the Wiggly Willow café in Hockerill Street, which supports people with special educational needs, and the Welbeloved Club for lonely pensioners in Bishop's Stortford and Sawbridgeworth too as part of plans to bring generations together to enjoy gardening.

The town's Men's Shed group, set up to promote good mental health among older male residents through DIY projects, will provide all the woodwork services, such as making benches and planters for the garden. Glen Hyman, of Great House Design, gifted the architectural drawings and rendering.

To support the project see https://manorfieldscommunitygarden.co.uk/ .



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