Businesses chip in to transform school’s eco-garden


An eco-garden which helps children at a Solihull school learn more about nature has been transformed thanks to the generous support of local businesses.

A team of green-fingered staff from Hill & Smith PLC – a leading provider of sustainable infrastructure products and services – dug in deep at Monkspath Junior and Infant School to help re-open their eco garden for the first time in four years.

The school’s eco-garden initially closed at the start of the pandemic and had become an overgrown and unusable space for children.

However, after sponsoring the school’s recent award win at Solihull Council’s Greener Schools Awards, Hill & Smith offered to rebuild their eco-garden so it could be used as a thriving outdoor learning space for children once again.

Staff visited the school to hear presentations from children on what they would like to see in the garden, incorporating suggestions into the final design such as birdboxes, hedgehog houses and a bug hotel to create healthy habitats for local wildlife.

Other design elements include raised planters and trees to increase biodiversity, a compost bin for children to produce their own compost, and table and chairs made from recycled cable drums and scaffold boards.

Hill & Smith also sought the support of other local businesses who donated tools and materials towards the new garden, while Solihull Council donated a wooden ‘Horace the Hedgehog’ – a mascot from the Council’s environmental initiative Love Solihull Parks – which will accompany the hedgehog hotel and encourage children to care for hedgehogs.

Monkspath Junior and Infant School headteacher Dan Wild said:

“The new-look eco-garden is fantastic and we are incredibly thankful to Hill & Smith for helping to restore this valuable outdoor learning space after so many years without it.

“The children have been very excited to be a part of the design and are looking forward to enjoying and learning about the new space and the local wildlife it will support.”

Lucinda Farrington-Parker, head of sustainability at Hill & Smith PLC, which has its headquarters in Solihull, said:

“As a business, sustainability is at the core of our ethos, and we are committed to providing staff with volunteering opportunities to support our local community.

“When the school mentioned they needed help bringing their eco-garden back into use, we naturally wanted to help in any way we can, so it was a pleasure to bring it back to life. We hope the children enjoy the space for years to come.”

Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, Cllr Ken Hawkins, said: 

“Monkspath Junior and Infant School has worked hard on embedding sustainability into its curriculum, which has been reflected in the school’s recent Greener Schools Award.

“Hill & Smith were a great supporter of last year’s awards and it has been terrific to see them kindly donate their time to work on this important new space, which will provide children the opportunity to learn more about the environment and climate change.”

Donations of tools and materials were made from Brandon Tool Hire, Ecofficiency, Expamet, Hill & Smith Infrastructure, Kingsbury Pallets, Middlemarch Environmental, The Reuse Hub (Wolverhampton), and Wickes (Hall Green).

For more information about the Council’s climate change and sustainability campaign, and to find out how to get involved, visit the Your Future Solihull webpages, or sign up to the Your Future Solihull newsletter.