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We spent a day improving the outdoor spaces at a primary school with corporate volunteers from Carbon Credentials & Repowering.

We hosted over 30 volunteers from amazing organisations committed to a lower carbon, more sustainable economy. They worked with us and pupils from Hayes Primary School to create a sensory path that supports pollinators and to build a keyhole raised bed for growing herbs and vegetables.

sensory path primary school children gardenThe sensory path is designed to be walked on barefoot, with the intention of encouraging contact with the natural world and the exploration of our five senses. This is particularly useful for children with learning disabilities or other special educational needs. Numerous sources (a, b, c) demonstrate the benefits for any of us to walk barefoot, & this is all the more important early in life. The plants employed offer tactile, visual, sound and scent engagement, as well as enriching biodiversity by providing a long season of pollen & nectar & winter habitats.

keyhole raised bed for food and compost

Keyhole raised beds are a permaculture technique that combines composting with food growing. The void in the centre is for food and garden waste to be composted in.

keyhole garden layout plan diagram

As it breaks down, it releases nutrients into the soil surrounding it. The composting process quickly reduces the bulky volume of the waste, ensuring that there is consistently new space to add fresh waste.

It is a technique employed around the world, with numerous benefits according to specific design & location, as seen here, here and here.

pupil learning to use a whacker plate at hayes primary school

In making the path, we had the opportunity to educate the pupils (and the adults) about how to lay walkways and the use of a really fun tool – the whacker plate! Wikipedia tells me that although the name obviously seems to come from the fact that it’s whacking the ground down, in fact a leading early brand was called “Wacker”!

“In England the name “wacker plate” or just “wacker” is commonly used to refer to plate compactors, derived from the name of Wacker Neuson, a well-known manufacturer of such devices.”

We walk on them every day of our life, and give so little thought to what supports us – but you can fix that by exploring the absolutely brilliant website from the irrepressible Tony McCormack: www.pavingexpert.com

We always welcome the opportunity to engage companies with communities, especially when the organisations’ values align so perfectly with our own.

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