A hedge has been planted along the front of the playground at Alton Infant School.
The project is a collaboration between the school, the Guild of Optimists and Alton Men’s Shed. It began after a meeting on the school’s travel plan between the school, Hampshire County Council and Annie Lancaster, co-founder of the guild.
It comprises 160 individual native plants, one for every child in the school. Each child had a chance to get their hands dirty and plant their seedling, learn about nature and enjoy being part of establishing the hedge.
Funded by community grants from East Hampshire district councillors Suzie Burns, Richard Platt, Paula Langley, Stephen Dolan and Steve Hunt, the flowering hedge will increase biodiversity in the school grounds, contribute to a green corridor through Alton to support bird and insect life, and improve privacy at the school.
Annie suggested a hedge to the school after seeing an investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches which showed ivy screens installed at a London primary school cut playground air pollution by 53 per cent.
She said: “The school are taking a really proactive step to protect the health and happiness of Alton’s children. I’m so delighted they’ve taken this on, despite the enormous pressures schools are currently facing.”
After the guild secured funding for the plants it learned digging into the ground along the front of the school would not be possible. But a team of Alton Men’s Shed volunteers built wooden planters.
Annie said: “The men’s shed were so inventive in coming up with ideas to suit the uneven ground. I’m really thankful for their help and generosity on this project.”
Thanking all involved, Alton Infant School headteacher Richard Mead said: “Plants bedded around playgrounds can help to reduce toxins in the air and make for a much more appealing space.”