PUPILS are digging deep for charity after they were handed their own garden.
Morpeth’s Chantry Middle School has been given the plot by the nearby Meldon Park estate to grow vegetables.
And when the harvest comes through, the school will pass it on to Barnabas Safe and Sound, which provides emergency housing for young people in crisis.
The produce will be used in Barnabas cookery classes, which help clients to become more independent.
Emily Cookson, who owns and runs Meldon Park with her husband James, said: “We have the Kitchen Garden Cafe so we thought this was a great way of educating pupils about healthy eating and introducing them to fresh produce.
“We’re thrilled that Barnabas Safe and Sound, a hugely important charity that does so much vital work for homeless young people in Morpeth, will benefit from this project.
“As a mother-of-three myself it’s lovely to see the pupils taking such an interest in managing the plot. They’re planning out the plot and deciding which fruit and veg to grow, and are responsible for weeding and managing the area so it is also giving them the chance to be active outdoors in the fresh air.”
A group of eight Year 8 pupils, aged 12 and 13, will work on the plot every Friday afternoon under the guidance of Chantry Head of Design Technology Lisa Elliott.
It will be divided in four, with a walkway in the middle, and pairs of children will work on their own section and choose what to plant. Meldon Park has provided seeds and equipment.
Miss Elliott said: “Having the vegetable plot is a fantastic project to be involved in because it is relevant to such a wide range of subjects on the curriculum, including design technology, science, maths and food.
“The children will take control and manage the land and it will provide them with a sense of ownership and responsibility.”
Barnabas Chief Executive Chris Menzies said: “This is a fantastic project and we are delighted to benefit from receipt of locally-grown produce.
“It will be a fun challenge for our residents to learn new recipes centred on in-season, fresh produce.”
He added: “It was really thoughtful of Meldon Park and Chantry Middle School to think of Barnabas Safe and Sound and make the link with us. It is great to be involved in a project in which a business is creating opportunities for local students and benefiting young people in need.”
Pupil Tiegane Ferry said: “I’m excited about getting my hands dirty.”
Classmate Matthew Alsop added: “It’s going to be a challenge, but it will help me learn more about gardening.”