Saint John Bosco College is in the midst of Battersea’s tower-block estates. A group of enthusiastic and hard-working year 7s established the very first school gardening club, meeting weekly after school. The young gardeners took a small otherwise ignored patch of playground, and with commitment, passion and a great deal of industry and imagination transformed it into a haven for plants and wildlife. They have also brought their work indoors, cultivating flower seeds and strawberry crowns in small pots (currently housed on a windowsill in the Library), which they lovingly tend to daily.
Despite a lack of resources and funding, the group have welcomed donations of seeds and materials from generous friends and parents and have repaid the generosity with not just devotion to the gardening club but also persistence, determination and humour when faced with the familiar but infuriating problems of slugs and squirrels. Rather than get disheartened, the students have sought innovative ways to protect their plants as well as seek advice from professionals and are enthusiastic when they see new shoots.
A staff member said, “One of the notable features of the gardening club is the amount of pleasure and fun the students get from being members, which is reinforced by their regular attendance, come rain or shine and their fearlessness when it comes to getting their hands dirty or finding large worms in the ground. The group would relish being acknowledged as it would show their efforts are worthwhile and fulfilling”.
Carl Johnson (12), Amandha Silveira (12), Anna Clara Scodeler (11)
St John Bosco College, Battersea (Archdiocese of Southwark)