Our new venture, the Community Action programme at Seaford College, has been very successful. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons groups of students have helped out at Mount Noddy or Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospitals, the Lavington Stud, Petworth House, or at our own prep school. In all venues students have learnt to work productively with one another.
At Petworth House our students have been given an overgrown garden to restore. They are returning it to its former glory as a kitchen and cottage garden. The first three weeks were spent clearing away the weeds and brambles. Week five saw the students cutting the wood for the raised beds and in subsequent weeks they cut and staked out the membranes. One set of fruit bushes has been planted. The garden borders have been cut back and trees lopped. In January an apple tree will be planted against the back wall of the garden as an espalier.
This garden is in the grounds of the House and is not yet open to the public. Once the garden has been restored the next stage is to put in a picnic area, convert an old toilet into a potting-shed and turn an old wooden shed into a museum for gardening implements. Different cohorts of Seaford students will be contributing to this project.
Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital at Sidlesham accommodates any animal that has been abandoned, apart from cats or dogs. Students have learnt to care for hedgehogs, pigeons, seagulls, badgers and even a bat. At Mount Noddy dog and cat sanctuary they have cleaned cages, cut back undergrowth, walked dogs and played with them. These needy cases have to learn to trust and interact with humans again. The jobs the students have engaged in have often been unpleasant and they have come to understand that dog-cuddling is only the tip of a very large iceberg in terms of sanctuary management.
Apart from their regular commitments, one Friday in October Seaford students were invited to take part in the Environment Day held at Oakwood Prep School at Lavant. Here skills learnt at Petworth House were transferred as part of another kitchen garden was restored and an outdoor story-telling area was created in woodland.
Our next project is forming a working partnership with Shaw Care Homes. We hope to send students to the home on midweek afternoons. Any student volunteering for this activity will be given a course in basic care and then could be working with residents on exciting IT projects such as helping residents with dementia recall and record virtual biographies.
I would like to thank all students and staff who have contributed to Community Action last term. If any parent would like to help then please get in contact with me at the College – firstname.lastname@example.org.