Leatherhead Community Garden gets grant on first birthday
THE Leatherhead Community Garden has been given £20,000 as it celebrates its first birthday.
Saturday marked a year since the first working party arrived to convert the patch of ground at West Hill School in Kingston Road into a resource for the community and school.
And last week the school was given a cheque for £20,000 from the Cobham offices of multinational trading business Cargill.
Andy Macfarlane, director of the school's science specialism, said: "We are extremely grateful to Cargill for this very generous donation which has enabled us to provide a fantastic outdoor classroom for use by our pupils and the local community.
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"It is the icing on the cake to complete an amazing joint school and local community project."
As well as the new outdoor classroom, a wooden building that will be used for a variety of lessons, the donation will pay for gardening equipment and a wooden gazebo in the new community orchard.
Community garden secretary Kayleigh Arunasalon said: "It's just amazing how well we've filled that space and all the free events we have managed to put on for people in the area.
"We've just got so many things planned in terms of construction of our fruit cages, the outdoor classroom, then extending the garden and with that we can do far more events."
The garden now includes 16 flower beds and a 60-foot polytunnel.
In March local schools will be invited to plant 52 apple, pear, cherry and greengage trees that will make up the new orchard.
Jan Winteridge, communication manager for Cargill, said: "We are delighted to support West Hill School and to see first-hand the projects that we have been able to fund.
"Cargill is committed to protecting the environment and promoting nutrition within the communities where we have a presence.
"The community orchard and garden is a great area for both the schoolchildren and those within the local community to experience and benefit from this outdoor space."
The community garden is open to the public every Saturday from 9am to 3pm.
Visit the garden at West Hill School, or go to www.leatherheadcommunitygarden.org.uk for more information about the gardening work at the school.