Highland school hostel garden creates home-from-home haven

Staff and pupils of Plockton High School Residence will (on Thursday 24 August 2017 at 4pm) celebrate the official opening of their newly completed garden which has taken 3 years of fundraising and hard work.

Residence Managers Margaret Anne Beaton and Rachel Beaton will be joined by staff, helpers, volunteers, pupils, Susan Galloway, Head Teacher of Plockton High School and representatives from sponsors Tesco.

Margaret Anne Beaton said: “I would like to thank everyone for all their hard work to get us to where we are now with this wonderful garden where pupils and staff can relax and enjoy themselves. I would like to give particular thanks to Jean Bliss, Houseparent and Shona McGuinness, Residence Officer for all their endeavours in coordinating the project and providing this wonderful outdoor haven at Plockton High School Residence.”

The project came about after the hostel obtained a picnic bench but had nowhere suitable to locate it. 

Margaret Anne said: 

“The only place the picnic table could be located was rough scrubland covered in gorse so Jean and Shona set about applying for grants and sought the opinion of our young people on how they would like the area developed. Jean went above and beyond the call of duty in her application to Tesco for funding as well giving of her own time at weekends and holidays to ensure the garden is tended and looking at its best.

“We would like to thank local Scottish Hydro workers who volunteered their services and did a tremendous job in clearing a banked sitting area…. that was the start of our garden. Much work has been done since then with lots of help from a huge number of volunteers in the community as well as staff and residents. 

“We really appreciate the generosity of local people, neighbours, National Trust volunteers, local nurseries and Plockton & District Horticultural Society, Plockton Harbour Association and Kyle Chemist who have very kindly given us their time and donations to help buy plants, composts and to upgrade our polytunnel. 

“In addition to our own fundraising we received a generous grant from Tesco Bags of Help scheme and Greenspace Scotland (Groundworks Scottish partners) which enabled us to buy tools, equipment, and loads of plants, hire a digger/driver and much more. 

Cllr Kate Stephen (Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh Ward) and Vice Chair of Highland Council’s People Committee said: “Ward Members were delighted to support the Plockton High School Residence project with £750 Ward Discretionary Funding. It is truly impressive to see what has been achieved on this former scrub area – well done to everyone involved.”

Work on the garden has included tree planting under which bluebells and primroses will create a beautiful woodland area in spring; planted borders; growing of produce in the communal polytunnel shared with the school; pathworks, and the installation of a water supply to the polytunnel. 

The garden now attracts much wildlife as well as making it more aesthetically pleasing for residents and their families (when they visit) and staff and visitors to the residence. 

In addition to the first bench the residence garden now has several more sitting places for residents to study, play music or just enjoy relaxing and being outdoors with friends. It provides a much more homely environment for youngsters who are far away from their families.

21 Aug 2017
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