A team from the Early Childhood Studies course helped to raise money for those who work and attend Freshlings nursery after hearing that the plants the children had grown had been stolen. 

The initiative has been led by Caroline Mikhail, from University of Plymouth's Centre of Sustainable Futures, who coordinates the Plymouth Growing Futures (PGF) project, which aims to enhance outdoor learning spaces. 

She said: “While working with the nursery on their outdoor space, we noticed pots were missing that the children had planted up full of different bulbs in the early winter. A group of Early Years students came forward to help out when they heard about the theft. We’ve held some cake sales to raise money, and also offered a healthier option of some spicy oriental lettuce for those who wanted to steer clear of the calories!” 

Plymouth Growing Futures is a student partnership within University of Plymouth endorsed by the Institute for Sustainability Solutions Research and Centre for Sustainable Futures. Open to students, staff and Plymouth residents, the aim of the project is to encourage the campus to be used as a provider of free food in an environmentally sound manner.

The PGF team along with Education students Charliee Bourne, Anna Palarm, Jess Williams and Georgia Watkins have raised a total of £60. It will be used to completely transform the gardens from what was once an area of soil with some pots, into a raised bedded area with new matting and wood chip.

The staff and parents are delighted as Nursery manager Vicky Smith explains: “The garden is a dedicated space for the children to learn about and care for a garden. To have the thing you have planted and nurtured taken away is awful for anyone. We have all been affected by it, but thanks to the students, staff and parents, the children can once again have a wonderful area to blossom in.” 

New pots have already been planted with seasonal shrubs, a herb area and a vegetable patch.

The PGF team will continue to work with Freshlings nursery and the wider University on this and other projects, including food growing gardening sessions on 3 and 4 June.