My name is Pete, I’m the headteacher at St Peter’s CE Primary School in Swinton, which is lucky to serve a varied catchment of children from around the local area.
I’ve always had an eye on Groundwork’s initiatives, so when I saw that the organisation was doing an environmental project in Swinton, I knew the school had to get involved. The children are so enthusiastic and their families supportive of local improvements, so it’s nice to do something which benefits them and their local area.
Although work has been done in recent years to regenerate the Swinton Square precinct, I’m afraid that areas of it still remain rather drab. It has clearly been affected by recession, covid and out-of-town retail parks and is not a place that would attract or inspire people to shop or head to for recreation purposes. However, if we allow the community and our children to take ownership of their local area, I believe they could really improve it.
Sarah, Lydia, and Martha from Groundwork were keen to work with the school and helped raise awareness about the Greening Swinton Square project amongst our young people and their families. They worked with them to develop their aspirations and ideas for the local area. The ideas that the children had for improving the environment were fantastic! We talk so much with them about climate change but it is usually on a world level, which is quite intangible for them, so to do something ‘real life’ in the local area is invaluable. Children thrive when given even a small amount of responsibility and a reason to care.
The Groundwork team also facilitated Bioblitz surveys here at St Peter’s. This helped people realise they can affect the environment for the better, increasing the diversity of the plant and animal count in the area.
The children will be involved in planting up some of the features in Swinton Square over the next few months to further their learning and ownership of the space.
In addition, our school is currently working towards achieving Eco-school status, so we are now inspired to bring some of Groundwork’s ideas (such as living walls, rain-gardens, etc) into our school grounds too.