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RHS Big Soup Share

Transplanting seedlings at school. Picture; SIRA Studio/RHS
Transplanting seedlings at school. Picture; SIRA Studio/RHS

10th anniversary of RHS Campaign for School Gardening, October 2-8

More than 1,000 schools and youth groups across the UK will be taking part in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Big Soup Share this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Campaign for School Gardening.

Some 75,000 three to 18-year-olds have been harvesting their produce, devising soup recipes and cooking up a feast to share with their classmates, friends, family and local community.

Since its launch in 2007, the RHS Campaign for School Gardening has called for all children to be given the chance to garden, to support their learning and wellbeing and inspire them in future careers.

Now, 69 per cent of primary schools and 79 per cent of secondary schools are signed up to receive free resources and support from the RHS.

A survey of these schools found that 96 per cent said gardening had enabled young people to connect with nature, and 83 per cent and 82 per cent of schools felt it had improved the mental and physical wellbeing of pupils.

Other benefits cited were helping youngsters to develop a wide range of skills (91 per cent) and actively green the environment (89 per cent).

Schools selling plants

Two in every five schools (40 per cent) are using their garden as a source of income, selling plants to plough money back into the school.

Andrea Van-Sittart, RHS head of community outreach, said: “I’m delighted that over 34,000 schools and groups have joined the campaign, giving around six million children and young people the chance to garden.

“Not only is gardening a fantastic way of bringing the curriculum alive, it helps to get young people outdoors in the fresh air to improve their wellbeing. They’re encouraged to be active, spend time relaxing and enjoy all the health benefits of being immersed in nature. We’d love to see every school reap the many rewards of gardening.”

Schools and youth organisations can sign up to RHS Campaign for School Gardening by visiting www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening.

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Mandy Watson is a freelance journalist and an incurable plantaholic. MandyCanUDigIt grew from the tiny seed of a Twitter account into the rainforest of information you see before you. Gardening columnist for the Sunderland Echo, Shields Gazette and Hartlepool Mail and editor of the Teesdale Mercury Magazine. Attracted by anything rebellious, exotic and nerdy, even after all these years. Passionate about northern England and gardens everywhere. Falls over a lot.


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