The Peel Group are incredibly proud to be a Founding Partner of the RHS Garden Bridgewater. As RHS Garden Bridgewater being one of our biggest legacy projects and aligning with one of our core mission in supporting young people, we have continued to work with the RHS Garden Bridgewater team with a number of exiting initiatives across the Educational programme and Peel Learning Garden.
This educational resource will enable many school children to learn how plants grow and the amazing adaptation that help them survive through a number of bespoke sessions with different targeted age groups. Engaging with plants, garden and nature benefits children, society and our young people in an amazing variety of ways.
Creating the first RHS Garden in the northwest could not be more important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone has witnessed the vital place that gardens and the outdoors have for people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Beautiful spaces, especially within urban areas, where people of all ages and from all backgrounds can grow, learn, and be inspired are need now more than ever.
The largest horticultural garden in the UK
RHS Garden Bridgewater, the fifth RHS Garden, officially opened its gates on 18th May 2021 to enormous support and interest from the general public, both local and nationally. Since opening day RHS has welcomed over 383,000 as of March 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a drastic impact on the education sector, affecting the mental and physical health of our young people, as well as their educational and social development. With schools having to cancel face-to face classes for much of the 2020/21 academic year, the garden’s opening and the introduction of the Peel Learning Garden and Bridgewater’s Education and Learning Programme could not come at a more perfect time. The schools programme launched in June 2021 and is on track to welcome 8,000 primary and secondary schoolchildren from across Salford and the wider Greater Manchester region by May 2022, a significant increase on the original target.
Over the next five years, the Peel Group will be supporting the RHS Garden Bridgewater’s educational, social and wellbeing provision. The Peel Learning Garden is an interactive outdoor space that encourages students to discover how plants grow and the amazing adaptations that help them survive. With a range of interesting species to explore including sensory herbs and edible plants, the garden is the perfect place to apply horticulture skill and knowledge in a fun, practical way. The educational school and community organisations’ visits enable many children across Salford to engage with the natural world of the garden and encourage them to grow their skills and confidence and promoting physical and mental wellbeing.
As well as providing a capital contribution to the Peel Learning Garden, education resource and the ‘changing place’ facility - specially adapted for accessibility, we have been delighted to support a number of other important initiatives in conjunction with the RHS Bridgewater team.
The Grow Project
The GROW Project - Peel’s partnership will extend to cover a new initiative called The Grow Pack a starter kit for seeds, bulbs, growing containers to empower children to share their new found knowledge and skills with their school mates and potential inspire them to create their own gardens at home and at school.
The GROW Project recruited six schools to participate in the pilot year with all of them from the most disadvantaged areas that claim free school mail vouchers.
The aim of the Grow project is to invite each of the schools to visit the garden and participate in a session following this visit they be sent a monthly challenge over the course of the year. Challenges will be a mix of different horticultural and nature related activities so that pupils get a chance to try different aspect to find something which enthuses them. Each participating school will receive GROW packs containing equipment which can be reused by other classes and any consumables and (e.g. seeds) will be cheap and easily accessible so that schools can easily re-run the monthly challenges with different classes and/or in the future years without it costing a lot.
The Travel Bursary Fund
Travel to RHS Bridgewater remains a barrier for many schools, this was identified as a key priority during the initial development of the education programme. The Travel Pot enables six local Salford schools at a severe financial disadvantage to visit the garden with no financial burden. This has enabled 26 school visits during the first 12 months of opening.
By March 2022, RHS Garden Bridgewater engaged with 115 schools, 63 of which were from Salford, offering education-led workshop, or a self-guided visit which was offered to all academic year groups including nursery, primary, secondary, FE College, SEND/PRU, home education and youth groups. Schools have visited from across the GM Borough with the majority being from Salford and Wigan.