Look after pets and gardens

A NEW innovative guide has been produced to promote growing areas and animal welfare within schools.

Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Service recently launched the booklet ‘Guide to keeping animals, sowing, growing and eating your school garden produce’ in partnership with the Food in Schools programme.

A key aim of the guide is the promotion of responsible animal keeping in schools. Many schools are looking into keeping chickens and some are considering pigs and goats and the scheme provides an excellent opportunity for pupils to gain an understanding of animal welfare at a young age.

A growing area can include anything from a flower pot to an old tractor tyre to a full allotment.

They support the school food agenda through creative learning, enabling children to get hands-on interaction with food, from planting and growing to harvesting and eating their own produce.

To encourage participation, all schools throughout Northumberland are being invited to participate in the Public Protection Services Annual School Growing Area and Animal Competition 2011. Prizes will be awarded in three categories – best vegetable growing area, best flower growing area and most exceptional animal environment.

Coun Alan Thompson, Executive Member for Public Protection at Northumberland County Council, said “I would like to encourage as many schools as possible to get pupils involved in a growing area. It is so rewarding for the pupils in developing their creative skills as well as the staff.”

Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre and Glendale Garden Centre have provided sponsorship for this competition in the form of trophies and vouchers.

Additionally, discounts are being offered to all schools in Northumberland at both centres and the first five local schools to contact Heighley Gate will receive a free hour of tuition.

Any school interested in participating in the scheme can get information at www.fuelforlife.co.uk

Any business wishing to provide sponsorship or support should contact Laura Southwell by telephone on 01670 534769 or email laura.southwell@northumberland.gov.uk