School sensory garden in full bloom thanks to Tesco funding

Nieve Spicer, 6, and Jacob Rhodes, 7.

Children at Oulton First School are now learning more about nature as they explore the great outdoors at a new sensory garden which has opened thanks to funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme.

The project was awarded £3,330 through the supermarket’s Bags of Help initiative and a commemorative plaque donated by Tesco has now been unveiled as a permanent record that the project was chosen by kind-hearted members of the Oulton community. Tesco works in partnership with Groundwork to deliver its Bags of Help funding scheme, where the money raised by the sale of carrier bags is being used to fund thousands of local projects in communities across Britain, all voted on by customers in store.

Harry Nunn, 7.

Oulton First School has used the funding to transform unused outdoor space into a stunning multi-sensory area for children and members of the school community to enjoy. Teachers, children and parents worked together to design and create the garden, making use of recycled materials donated by the community. Bike wheels were used to create a feature wall while Tesco funding went towards fencing, seating, plants, containers, and a pergola. The space is looked after by an after-school gardening club for both children and parents which is run by teacher Vicky Potts.

The garden encourages pupils to explore their senses with solar water features, wind spinners, a tasting section and a ‘touchy-feely’ barefoot pathway as well as a quiet area for contemplation. Feeding stations and bird boxes were also installed to attract wildlife for pupils to study as part of their curriculum.

Vicky said: “The children love spending time in the garden and it’s wonderful to watch them learning more about nature and wildlife at the same time. “Our gardening club has also proved to be a massive success. The children are already starting to gain new skills and are enjoying discovering a new world outside of the classroom.”

Shaun Rathbone, Store Manager at Meir superstore, said: “It’s wonderful to see this project come to life, showing first-hand how a Bags of Help grant can have a positive impact on local communities. Since launching in 2015, Bags of Help has provided more than £52 million to over 16,000 local community projects. “There has been great enthusiasm for the initiative from both Tesco colleagues and our customers. We’re hugely excited for the future as the scheme continues to grow and help even more groups across Britain.”