Case Study: Redlands Primary School PTA

Creating a green space for the children of Redlands Primary School

A £5,000 grant awarded
Four new large raised beds, with existing beds revitalised and replanted
Two raised beds for growing vegetables
A renovated pond area with the help of a specialist
240 students and staff benefit from better access to nature

In 2021, a £5,000 grant from BCF helped enable Friends of Redlands, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) of Redlands Primary School, to create new pockets of green space in the school environment, allowing teachers and children to better engage with nature.

Redlands Primary School is a diverse, values-based school in Reading. Friends of Redlands are are dedicated group of parents, carers and teachers who fundraise to create opportunities for the pupils. Having a green space within the school environment can be vital in encouraging a relationship with wildlife and nature, together with feelings of environmental stewardship. Access to nature has been well documented in improving mental health and wellbeing. Before this project began, the Redlands Primary School playground had no trees, and very little dedicated green space.

Thanks to the Berkshire Community Foundation grant, other local grant funding organisations, and some ongoing crowd-funding, Friends of Redlands were able to transform the urban tarmac and brick outdoor environment of the school with pockets of green space, where teachers have the potential to conduct outdoor learning and children can engage with nature.

Despite numerous setbacks due to the COVID pandemic, Friends of Redlands used the grant to build four new large, raised beds in the playground for plants and trees, including seating on some raised beds so that the children, and staff could sit amongst, and experience nature first hand, at school. Two dedicated raised beds were also built in a corner of the playground, for growing vegetables. They also renovated the pond area with the help of a pond specialist. Existing planters were renovated and planted with perennials, herbs and flowers that were particularly fragrant, and/or pleasing to touch.

As well as encouraging wildlife and improving air quality, immersion in nature is proven to increase both physical and mental health. This project has ensured that the cohort of 240  pupils and staff, as well as their families, can benefit from the trees, plants, flowers and herbs in the playground.

Students who previously used plastic containers for their growing projects can now grow herbs and vegetables in dedicated, hardy, wooden raised beds. Art classes include getting outside and drawing the plants and trees of the playground. Adding nature to the environment reduces the summer heat of the playground and offers children and staff spaces to chat, reflect and socialise alongside nature.

Showing children that there is a community of people rooting for them can be transformative. A parent has described their child as “thrilled” at the experience of seeing birds in the trees at their school. The parent felt that the work had shown to their child that they are valued and cared for.

The children of Redlands Primary now have a sensory, inclusive, and wildlife orientated environment in which to thrive. As a result of this project, Friends of Redlands has also forged new partnerships with other local organisations and recruited many more volunteers, thus helping to bring the community together.

Be part of something great.

If you would like to know more about how you can support causes like this, to change lives for the better in Berkshire, please get in touch.

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