OUR WORK WITH SCHOOLS
The Wiltshire Gardens Trust Education Committee started in 1995 with just two members of the Trust. The idea was to get schools interested in growing plants whether in containers or flower beds. Our first grant was £50 which bought two large wooden tubs for a school in Swindon and since then we have given over £50.000 to Primary and Special schools that have requested our help. Over the years the committee grew to four and we saw over 320 schools which covered most of the county, some of which have merely needed advice and encouragement while others have had more than one grant. It has been a great thrill to see these gardens enlarge with a gradual change from growing flowers to trying vegetables which has reflected the healthy trend of grow it, cook it, eat it.
Wiltshire led the way in getting other South West Counties together for an annual meeting by hosting the first one in 1996. This first meeting meant the start of some other counties going into their schools and it was a great way to discuss and talk about how we might all help the children and staff alike. Later it gave me the job of travelling to meet all counties in England to help them set up similar groups in their area. We all achieve results in different ways but realise the importance of getting young people interested in their grounds and I think we have managed to persuade schools that gardening continues to play an important part in delivering the curriculum as there is no subject that cannot be covered while outside getting your hands dirty.
We now feel we have achieved all that we can and have been so successful that our schools no longer need our help, so we have decided to wind up the education committee and move on to other things. From no garden at all to the majority having wonderful plots full of plants, this position is a credit to the team from the W.G T. and a great result of which we should be very proud. We will miss our visits but wish our many schools good luck in the future.