High Peak schoolchildren ditch social media for community garden

Year 5 and 6 pupils from Class A at the Furness Vale Primary School put their gardening skills to use in the community garden across from their Buxton Road school where they have been taking part in a Prince William Award with SkillForce.
Year 5 and 6 pupils from Class A at the Furness Vale Primary School put their gardening skills to use in the community garden across from their Buxton Road school where they have been taking part in a Prince William Award with SkillForce.

Thirty green-fingered children from Furness Vale Primary School are creating a community garden in a bid to battle social isolation.

The caring youngsters are currently transforming an 80sqm piece of land near the school to grow fruit and vegetables for people in the village to use.

However, the project - which forms part of their Prince William Award and run by ex-forces charity Skill Force - has been designed to pull children and adults away from digital screens and social media to socialise with others face-to-face.

It also aims to give isolated elderly people a chance to mix with others in the community.

Heather Hartin, assistant area manager at Skill Force, said the project aimed to encourage healthier lifestyles and ‘understanding where food comes from’.

She said: “The kids are so excited about doing this - it was completely their idea.

“One of the major aims of our charity is to encourage community cohesion because everyone is sat on their screens and not interacting any more.

“While older people are sat at home and quite lonely.

“We want to get people together in the sunshine and build some cohesion - a social life without screens.”

So, far the children have begun planting carrots, beans and peas, tomatoes and lettuce but hope to start growing sweetcorn and potatoes.

Heather hopes to hold open days for those who want to get involved with the garden soon - with dates still to be announced.

However, the charity is requesting donations of vegetable and herb seeds and good-quality compost.

nIf you can help email Heather.Hartin@skillforce.org.