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School pupils call for empty plastic bottles


Published by rtownsend for Sanctuary Housing Association in Education and also in Communities

Mark Mander, Trade Supervisor at Sanctuary Maintenance, leads design session for school pupils Mark Mander, Trade Supervisor at Sanctuary Maintenance, leads design session for school pupils

Secondary school pupils in Birmingham have kick started a creative campaign to collect 3,000 plastic bottles as they help elderly residents get back into gardening.  

The call for the pupils help came from residents of Homelands, a Sanctuary 365 scheme, who wanted a new, purpose built greenhouse that will allow them to grow their gardening skills along with different plants and vegetables.

With the current greenhouse inaccessible to many at the scheme, the youngsters, from Perry Beeches Academy Birmingham, put their thinking caps on and got stuck into a design session ran by property maintenance company, Sanctuary Maintenance.

The session encouraged them to consider different design elements, including a wide double door, which would make the green house accessible for those who require a walking frame or wheelchair.

Alongside Mark Mander, trade supervisor at Sanctuary Maintenance, the pupils discussed the materials, costings and man power that would be required for the project. Keen to use recyclable materials the project group voted to use empty pop bottles to add some extra fizz to their greenhouse.

Mark said: “Plastic pop bottles are possibly the way forward as an innovative solution to building a cost effective greenhouse. The pop bottles, whilst an everyday household commodity, also prove to deliver good insulation and ventilation qualities as well as giving adequate light penetration, all of which are needed to create a suitable environment for the growth of plants and vegetables.”

To collect the required amount of bottles the pupils will be getting their heads together to brainstorm ways of encouraging their classmates to bring in their empty two litre bottles.

Wendy Billings, scheme manager at Homelands, said: “The residents are looking forward to growing their own plants and vegetables, something they haven’t been able to do as the current greenhouse is inaccessible. We have a good relationship with pupils from the school so it is great the children have been able to get involved in this project with the support of Sanctuary Maintenance.”

Operatives from Sanctuary Maintenance will be working closely with the children, using their expertise to help them put the green house together.

The design session was organised as part of the school’s annual camp. Each year they spend three days with residents at Homelands, camping out in their garden, socialising with residents and helping out around the scheme.


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