Overgrown area at Farnham Common school transformed

An ‘overgrown’ area at a school in Farnham Common has been transformed into an outdoor learning space and growing area.

In autumn last year, Farnham Common Junior School was keen to transform a large area which was overgrown with old planters that were ‘broken and rotted’, into more outdoor space for learning and to use to grow fruit and vegetables.

Prior to moving away, former Rotary Club of Burnham Beeches member Fiona De Luca, whose daughter was a pupil, was approached by the school and stepped in to help.

Fiona oversaw the work, which saw Rotarians and other organisations within the community help with various tasks including cutting down brambles and clearing away.

As part of the work, a membrane was put down to suppress the weeds.

Rotarian Michael Adigun also spread a ‘huge’ pile of wood chips that had been donated by M&J Tree Specialists Ltd.

The project has been supported by both the school and its PTA, with several Rotarians donating money, Burnham Men’s Shed making work benches from scratch and Farnham Royal Parish Council and Burnham Lions also helping.

Alongside the wooden benches raised beds were also put in place, ready for the growing season.

The work on the area was completed in December.

Pupils have been chitting potatoes, ahead of their planting.

Keith Greenough, Burnham Beeches Rotary president, said: “Although Fiona has now moved back to Scotland, she's achieved a huge amount in the area on our behalf and leaves a living legacy for others to enjoy.

"We've given her a big vote of thanks from all of us - and best wishes for her future.”

Donna Whitrod, school business manager, added: “Working with Fiona and the Rotary Club has been great. They have helped bring the vision of myself and the head master, Mr Masters, to life and we can't wait for the children to start using the area.

"We are very grateful for their help and support throughout the project.”

Fiona said: “The school approached me, and we also did a massive amount of work at the front removing loads and loads of ivy from the fences, jet washing the old bike shed, clearing the very overgrown ground (including brambles) and laying woodchip. 

“The kids then upcycled tyres onto it and planted them up. Pinewood nurseries gave us a discounted price on the woodchip.”

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