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Nextdoor Nature: Schoolchildren partner with residents to transform community garden

Children in a group holding and looking at a worm with Sue Deedigan from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Children from Studley Green Primary School in Trowbridge are embracing nature this year at a local community garden as part of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust’s Nextdoor Nature project.  

Nextdoor Nature is a nationwide project that's about bringing communities together to help nature flourish where they live and work. It’s been made possible thanks to £5million funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and will provide people with the advice and support they need to help nature on their doorstep. 

As part of this project, children from Studley Green Primary are making a series of visits to the neighbouring community garden at Manor Court; a sheltered housing complex managed by Selwood Housing. The children from years 3-6 are all members of the school’s Eco Team. 

Over six visits scheduled between February and July, the children are getting involved in various activities to enhance the garden for wildlife. The activities include planting seed trays, crafting bird feeders, sowing wildflowers, transplanting seeds into the garden, and constructing a hedgehog house. Residents of Manor Court are encouraged to attend each session and join in the fun.  

Will Orr, Assistant Headteacher at Studley Green Primary said:

It’s been a real pleasure to see the Eco Team working with Manor Court residents on the Nextdoor Nature project. The children are not only having fun, but also learning valuable skills like identifying plants and creating wildlife-friendly areas which will make a positive impact within the community.

Leading the activities is Sue Deedigan from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. Sue attends each session to guide the children and discuss the importance of supporting nature. Each session focuses on a different theme, covering topics such as the importance of wildflower meadows, how to support pollinators and understanding hedgehog habitats. The children are encouraged to explore the community garden, discover insects and learn about diverse wildlife species.   

Sue Deedigan said:

The Nextdoor Nature project is all about helping people to understand what wildlife and nature needs to thrive and how people can do that in their own communities. Being outside in nature is great for wellbeing and it’s lovely to see the elderly residents and the children working together and sharing ideas.

Selwood Housing is pleased to support the Nextdoor Nature project by facilitating access to the community garden at Manor Court. Staff from Selwood Housing are also enjoying getting stuck in with the activities, from digging wildflower beds to constructing hedgehog houses.   

Viv Woodford, sheltered housing coordinator at Selwood Housing said:

It is so lovely to see the children and residents working together and sharing their knowledge of nature. The enthusiasm of the children is contagious, and it is great for the wellbeing of everyone that participates, while also enhancing the gardens at Manor Court for all to enjoy.