Hillcrest Special School is a winner!
September 7, 2019
A Cramlington school was among the winners when the The Duchess of Northumberland presented the LOVE Northumberland awards which celebrate the very best in community and voluntary environmental work across the county.
The best young people’s project category was won by Hillcrest Special School in Cramlington for its Bungalow Garden Project.
The School had an area of outside space that was unloved and uncared for. Working with Kirkley Hall and the Children’s Foundation, the students have created a garden space that staff, students, parents and other professional support staff can use and enjoy.
As the students designed this project they have invested time and hard work and created a sense of pride and ownership which can be used for future generations of Hillcrest students. This has developed a beautiful quiet space which has helped us with our environmental issue where rubbish had been abandoned due to the unloved area. Whilst clearing the site the students found wood etc that they were able to recycle to include in the garden.
The project was much more than renovation and restoration as it helped develop collaborative working, enhanced resilience strategies and helped students identify the impact they can have on the environment and as community members.
Once completed the students organised a traditional English Garden Party to invite parents to the opening alongside the Civic Head of Northumberland and local Councillors. This was a fantastic achievement as they demonstrated the work that had been achieved over the duration of the project but went further with the organisation of the Garden Party which included invitations, cooking etc to bring everyone together on a beautiful day in a community space.
The environmental benefits from this project has included recycling pots and tyres into unusual planters, use of timber to create seats and recycling old outdoor furniture instead of sending these to landfill. The introduction of lots of different species of plants into the garden will promote birds and insects and the planting of vegetables for use in the school kitchen. All materials were sorced locally including grass, soil and plants.
The project benefits the whole school along with parents, staff and support professionals. As a special school this is an invaluable space which is calm and inviting for all that will use it. It also has helped raise the profile of the school, the learners that attend and the community the school serves giving the message ‘Every Child Matters at Hillcrest’
The annual awards were developed by Northumberland County Council through its LOVE Northumberland campaign, with the aim of promoting the work of the council and its many partner organisations, community groups and volunteers who all help to preserve and enhance the environment in the county.
Councillor Ian Hutchinson, civic head of Northumberland County Council, welcomed everyone to the awards evening, saying: “All of the shortlisted entries should be very proud of all of their work, and I sincerely hope that they enjoyed this event, in the inspiring setting of The Alnwick Garden.
“The LOVE Northumberland awards are all about celebrating what individuals and groups do, largely in a voluntary capacity, to keep their local areas green and clean right across Northumberland. I have been extremely impressed by the quality and breadth of the work highlighted through the awards – and thank them all, on behalf of the residents and visitors who benefit.
“Her Grace the Duchess of Northumberland has been very generous in giving up her time each year to present prizes to the winners, and we are very grateful to her for this support.”
The main sponsor of the awards this year has been builders’ merchants and equipment suppliers Jewson. Vincent Thurlby, from the company said: “Jewson is delighted to be involved with the 2019 LOVE Northumberland Awards and to celebrate the County’s fantastic community and voluntary environmental work.
“The awards recognise the true heroes of the county, and provide a great opportunity to showcase all that has been achieved in the last year, in helping keep our communities environmentally friendly.
“We would like to congratulate each and every finalist for what they have achieved in their work and projects.”
Other sponsors and supporters of the awards this year have included local company Origin Designed who produced wooden heart plaques for all of the winners, runners up and highly commended entries as well as unique table numbers for the event.
Each winning entry in the awards received a £250 prize, each runner-up £100 and highly commended finalists £50, with the money to go towards their project or other work within the local community. Outstanding individuals also received a small cash prize and a trophy.
To find out more about LOVE Northumberland go to www.northumberland.gov.uk/love
Pictured: The Duchess of Northumberland presents Hillcrest Special with their award.