RESIDENTS on an Accrington estate have been given a helping hand by enthusiastic youngsters armed with shovels and spades.

Schoolchildren from Accrington Academy, in Queens Road West, teamed up with the Laneside Residents’ Association to makeover a community garden as ‘part of a new drive’.


Pupils from Years 7 and 8 swapped their laptops and smartphones for some good old-fashioned gardening tools to transform Dyke Nook Gardens, in Whalley Road, working with members of the group to breathe new life into the area.

Teaching assistant Ben Mears said: “It’s fantastic that our students are out in the community making a real difference.

“Their efforts will also go towards an AQA Unit Award, which is an accreditation scheme for recognising learning and success.”

The students, under the watchful eye of Mr Mears and Jean Sommerville from the residents’ association, gave up their free time to help build new planters that will grow vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

The produce will be used by residents to come and pick as they need, with a fruity hedgerow and willow fence to cover up the old railings on site.

Meanwhile, the school’s art department also lent a hand, helping to make a new poppy mural, as well as sculptures from pottery.

The art department also painted the new flower beds to inject some more colour into the garden.

Principal Andy O’Brien said: “This is the part of a new drive by the Academy.

“Working with the local community is really important for our students.

“These projects will benefit all concerned.

“They are an ideal opportunity for our students to show just how great they really are.”

The garden was built in 2013 after 50 volunteers turned out to build a community edible patch and orchard as part of the Green Corner Project.

It was later named as one of the winning entries in a competition and was awarded a £500 prize .

The Academy is now looking for a new project to sink its teeth into, and has invited suggestions from community groups and organisations.

For more information, contact Tracy Eccles on: 01254 304300, ext 333.