The Jack Charlton Memorial Garden

Utilising a bequest from former Rotarian Jack Charlton of Newbrough the Rotary Club of Hexham provided secure fencing for a new wildlife garden area to the rear of Queen Elizabeth High School Hexham.

(From left)  Josh Tuck,  Jamie Darling of Hexham Youth Initiative,  Keith Nichol roofing contractor, Laura Waugh of Groundwork NE & Cumbria, Freddie O’Hara and  George Hughes with Emma Thompson of Hexham Youth Initiative

A recent grant by National Lottery Awards For All to QEHS enabled Hexham Youth Initiative jointly with Groundwork NE & Cumbria to work with young people in developing the site to include the young people’s own projects, focused around creating a wildlife haven that the community can also enjoy.

Young people and families from across the Tyne Valley have been taking part in this nature based project after school and during holiday club for almost year, with social activities such as Halloweeding, an Easter Egg Hunt and visit to the beautiful gardens of Wallington Hall. These were followed up with practical skill based learning such as building and planting accessible raised beds full of fruiting shrubs and trees for the birds, creating and surveying wild flower areas, making a bog bed and maintaining the pond. They have also been very busy weaving hibernation homes for hedgehogs, putting up bird boxes, building bug houses and erecting a wildlife hide. The young people have also been learning some impressive woodland heritage skills by making a solid oak bench where they can sit and admire the fruits of their labours. A local roofing contractor Keith Nichol is volunteering his time to support them in making their wildlife hide water tight. From here they can make their wildlife observations - butterflies and bees on the nectar plants, deer grazing in the next field, buzzards wheeling overhead.

As part of the project those working on the site have the opportunity to participate in the John Muir environmental award scheme which encourages people to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places such as this new wonderful community resource.

The group are currently applying for more funds to maintain the momentum as they have many more plans to develop the garden and their new-found interests and skills. If you would like to learn more about the project please contact Keda Norman at Hexham Youth Initiative 01434 607350.

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