All entries for Wednesday 29 July 2015

July 29, 2015

Charter School Comminuty Project – Weeds, weeds and more weeds.

After Glendale Services had done such a fantastic job on the brambles up at the Forest School site it really spurred me on the get up to the school with some of my colleagues to start work up there. So, on Tuesday 28th July myself, Jess, Kieran and my friend Imogen got our wellies on and went up to start clearing some of the easier areas that didn't require heavy machinery or chainsaws to do the work.

Jess and Kieran hard at work:

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We took a lovely picnic up there for our lunch and went to meet Georgette, the head teacher, and start work. The plot where the fire circle is going to be is full of spiky weeds and nettles so we started in this space, until Imogen suggested that we could take the top layer of turf and weeds off, put some weed reducing mesh down and then a layer of stones. This seemed like a much better idea so we had a short brainstorming session about where to go with this and decided that was the way forward and I would start to contact builders merchants to try and get some stone donated for this.

Imogen getting to work on the weeds in the tree area:

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After coming to a decision about the fire pit we moved to the area where the trees had been planted, by The University of Warwick Estates Department a few years ago, where the ground underneath the trees really needed clearing of weeds that had managed to grow up through the weed mesh.

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We cut back some of the tree growth at the bottom of some of the trees and cleared the ground underneath the trees ready for new bark chippings to be put down.

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Just as we were about to break for some lunch Roger Boxhill, head of grounds at the University and Wayne, one of the Estates gardeners came up to see me to have a chat about how they can get involved in the Forest School Project. I showed them round the site and chatted enthusiastically about my plans for the long term design and shape of the Forest School and they were glad to help and to get involved. Hopefully Estates will be able to come in at the start of autumn and help to clear the remaining brambles, once the fence has been moved forward to secure the whole of the Forest School site.

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We had a great day and what a productive start to the project! Really excited about getting going with some designs for the Forest School and getting organisations and businesses in Coventry and our students involved.


Charter School Community Project – First day on site

The Charter School Community Project is progressing now, after months of talks and meetings we are finally getting to the stage where the start of the physical work is taking place. The area where we are planning to create the Forest School is parly on the current school site and partly taking up some land which, before we had looked at recent plans provided by the council, we thought belonged to Network Rail. The new land is fenced in and was absolutely full to the brim with thick dense brambles.

Before photographs:

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At the last Canley Stakeholder's Committee meeting I attended, back in June, we discussed how we could start work on this patch of land and Joanna Selby from Whitefriars Housing suggested that she could speak to Glendale Services, who have a contract with Whitefriars, to see if they could help us out. The wonderful people at Glendale met Joanna and myself up at the site to have a look and agreed that we could have two of their workers for the day to see how far they could get.

Glendale Services making the first push on the bramble clearance:

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As you'll be able to see from the next photograph, Glendale managed to make a real dent in the brambles:

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The work undertaken by Glendale at the beginning of July got rid of a huge amount of brambles, ready for them to be excavated and the root balls removed, but there is still alot to do to clear the space. If you look to the back left of the last photograph you can see some reeds, these are where we plan to put the pond. There is a swail there to drain the water and this boggy, marshy bit of land is perfect for wildlife, just what we need!

Thank you so much to Glendale for helping us to start the work on the Forest School site, it is very much appreciated.


Charter School Community Project – July update

The Charter School Community Project has been in it's starting stages for a few months now while I have been looking at ways to fundraise and liaising with the school as to what step to take next. The project is long term and the more I look into it the bigger it seems - all the better for me as I love a challenge.

With regards to fundraising, we are currently at £749 of our target of £3000, which is to go towards training two members of school staff up to level 3 Forest School practitioners, so that they can run the Forest School, and to buy wet weather gear for one year of children. The money so far has been raised from two cake sales, some kindly donated FA Cup Final tickets and a sponsored silence, which was undertaken by myself and went down a little too well in my office!

Every year I put on a charity fun day in my local pub, The Old Clarence, in Earlsdon and this year I’ll be donating some of the money raised on the day to this project. This year’s event will be taking place on Saturday 29th August and will be from 12noon until 9pm. We have some fantastic local acoustic acts on all day followed by a DJ from 7-9pm playing Ska and 2Tone music, there will be a table top sale, cakes, tarot readings, wacky races, a balloon release, raffle and auction and we hope to raise lots of money for Charter Forest School and Myton Hospice.

Myton Hospice is a charity very close to my heart as they looked after my Dad for 5 weeks and gave him back so much dignity and treated him with such care and respect in his final days. I have nothing but good words to say about the organisation, they really are amazing people and I promised him that I would continue to raise money for them on his behalf to say thank you.

The Charter Primary Forest School Project is something we, the PAIS, Philosophy and Sociology admin team, have been working on since November and I have been attending all of the Canley Stakeholders Group meetings so know that the school and people in the community are very excited by this venture. Forest School will give the kids opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment and part of the project will see some of us going along to help out with clearing the area they will be using for the Forest School, planting, designing routes, building a fire circle and mud kitchen and helping to create an amazing outdoor learning environment.

As a department we, in PAIS, always try to do something for a good cause and this project will be something that will last and make a real impact in the local community. I am very proud to be leading this project and am excited to imagine how it will turn out when it is all finished.


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