The Secret Garden at Chelmsford College has been enhanced with the addition of a workshop and teaching area thanks to a TESCO "Bags of Help" grant. An award of £4,000 was made to Chelmsford College by the multinational grocery retailer’s community funding, in order to add a much needed new dimension to the garden, supporting Extended Learning students. The "Willow Room" was officially be opened by The Mayor of Chelmsford, Cllr Yvonne Spence on Friday 12 October at 1pm. Last year the TESCO "Bags of Help" project transformed a small piece of green space besides the College into a beautiful, easily accessible garden. This year the newly equipped space has already been used as a venue to raise money for charitable organisations including Macmillan, in addition to being a tranquil and positive environment away from traditional classroom learning.
To celebrate the launch, Extended Learning students prepared an Afternoon Tea and hosted guests including The Mayor of Chelmsford, Governors of the College, fellow students, staff, children from Dovedale Nursery and representatives from the local community and local TESCO store.
Oak View Landscapes completed the project, having designed the inclusive space last year, kitted out with raised beds for students with disabilities so they could take part in therapeutic gardening activities, growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and plants.
The Secret Garden has proved itself to be a sought-after space ideal for staff and students to enjoy a sense of calm and wellbeing. The wheelchair friendly paths and accessible nature of the garden make it a flexible space for students with disabilities and children from Dovedale Nursery to enjoy, whilst other students including art, media and catering students benefit from the outdoor learning environment.
Tina Curry of Chelmsford College said "The Willow Room has provided us with a fantastic outside classroom within the Secret Garden which is used by the Extended Learning Department for Horticulture and will deliver Cross Curriculum activities throughout the College."
Jill Twiss of Chelmsford College added "In the future we hope it will be used for After School activities for the Nursery, a Meditation space for students and staff and activities where the local community can become involved."
Debs Hurst of Chelmsford College said "I’m proud to be associated with such an amazing project, having a great facility such as this gives us the ability to help improve the wellbeing of our students. We are grateful to all our partners who helped create this fantastic space and many thanks to The Mayor for opening the Willow Room and sharing the occasion with us."
Paul Downer, Managing Director of Oak View Landscapes said "Oak View Landscapes were delighted to be invited back to build the second phase of the garden. The Willow Room and adjacent patio area have created perfect teaching spaces for all seasons irrespective of the weather. We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Chelmsford College on the project and it’s great to see the students using the garden space to its full potential."