Medium_optimized-20150916_100346 George Carey Primary School gets growing

28 Sep 11:07

Paula Vandergert

Pupils have helped transform a neglected corner of their school grounds at Barking Riverside into a thriving garden for food and wildlife

Pupils admire their handywork (copyright: George Carey primary school)

At the heart of the community in Barking Riverside is George Carey Primary School, located in the Rivergate Centre. Opened in September 2011, the school, along with the Rivergate Centre, was the first community building completed within the new development at Barking Riverside.

The school is named after George Carey, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, who was born and raised in Dagenham. Lord and Lady Carey formally opened the school on 27th March 2012. The school is now home to 650 pupils from ages 4 to 11.

A retired teacher at the school has worked with the children to transform a somewhat neglected part of the school grounds into a lush garden. The children have wheelbarrowed the soil, weeded and grown pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, courgettes, sunflower and hollyhocks from seeds. They were thrilled when they pulled the first carrots out of the soil this week. The vegetables that are ready will be included in the school’s harvest festival donation. TURAS partners have supported the development of the garden with 10 tonnes of top soil, advice on planting and bug habitats as well as funding to help the project get started.

Here’s the last word from some of the children themselves:

‘When I went gardening I felt so happy and I loved it so much…we grew lot of yummy fruit and it was good’
‘..we did wheel barrowing and planted seeds such as sunflower seeds, cucumbers, pumpkins and melons. I did a lot of weeding and digging holes for planting trees and seeds. The garden now looks as beautiful as a rainforest’
‘..now the garden looks like Willy Wonka’s edible room that you can eat everything. I love the garden!’

George Carey school grounds before the garden (copyright: George Carey primary school)

Many of the plants have been grown by the children from seed (copyright: George Carey primary school)

Many of the plants have been grown by the children from seed (copyright: George Carey primary school)