Newport Can Do and Crosskeys Campus Coleg Gwent

18 September 2018

By Katrina Cole

Newport Can Do will be working with the staff and students of the ILS Department at Crosskeys Campus Coleg Gwent, to build an outdoor classroom and garden, thanks to the National Garden Scheme.

The garden will have an accessible path accessing all areas. There will be flowers and vegetables grown, which through the summer will be open to the public to do a summer sale.

Line drawing of the new Crosskeys Campus gardenThe outdoor classroom and garden will also be open to the public to take part in community courses throughout the year. There will also be a small animal section of the garden. 

The outdoor classroom will be an eco- friendly construction, with plants that grow on the roof and down the sides; with the possibility of French doors to be open up throughout the warmer months.

Why will this help?

Through having this opportunity to build an outdoor classroom we are aiming to provide a sheltered spot in the windy or wet weather, and a shaded area in the hot and sunny weather, meaning that lessons can take place outside all year round. 

How the garden currently looks

Studies have shown that pupils tend to have increased concentration and are more motivated, inspired and willing to learn when they are outdoors.

The opportunity to learn outdoors can also potentially give students who find it difficult to concentrate or engage inside an alternative option.

Andrea Hale, a tutor at the college who has carried the vision of the outdoor classroom for a while, has said:

‘The Garden Project is going to be massive opportunity and something we are all looking forward to completing. The benefits are endless, this garden is the tree and the benefits will branch off.

‘The students will learn so many skills including teamwork, they will have space and an area they can call their own, something they can all be responsible for and take ownership of.

‘They will be involved in Enterprise from growing and selling plants, fruit, vegetables and herbs for our campus restaurant.

‘Most importantly this garden will bring the college and community together.’

Next steps

We have already had multiple meetings gaining different quotes from different landscapers and contractors to build the eco-friendly construction. 

The professionals will be starting the hard landscaping this month, with staff and ILS students taking part to help. This will also help the students to learn new living and work skills.

Once the hard landscaping is complete, such as levelling the ground, accessible paths put in, blocking for the outdoor classroom and outdoor wash station, we will then be looking at the construction of the outdoor classroom.

How the garden currently looks

The outdoor classroom will need to be fully insulated, and have electricity and central heating. It will also need double glazing, and be fully accessible.

Once this is complete we will begin constructing the poly tunnels, raised beds, animal corner and outdoor wash station.

There is a lot to consider, plan, and do on this project. Everyone involved is incredibly excited and looking forward to it all.

Katrina is a Can Do Programme Coordinator in Newport.

Our Can Do Gardening projects are funded by National Garden Scheme.

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