This vandalised school has come alive again thanks to a new garden project

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THREE years ago, a school in Titchfield had to hang a ‘children keep out’ sign on its outdoor classroom after it was trashed by vandals. 

Now the area has come alive as the school unveiled a multicoloured allotment for all the pupils.  

Pictured is: (l-r) Connor Miller (8), Francesca Donovan (6), Erin Hale (10), Rico Daiboun (11), Jessica Yarrow (5), Lacey Collins (8) and Refkah Hawkridge (11).''Picture: Sarah Standing (240519-220)

Pictured is: (l-r) Connor Miller (8), Francesca Donovan (6), Erin Hale (10), Rico Daiboun (11), Jessica Yarrow (5), Lacey Collins (8) and Refkah Hawkridge (11).''Picture: Sarah Standing (240519-220)

Titchfield Primary School, on Southampton Road, previously had an area of decking covered by a canopy, allowing pupils to enjoy learning outside in sunny weather. In 2016, vandals broke into the site, smashed the canopy, and damaged the decking.

Headteacher Michelle Stephens said: ‘It was a tragic thing to have happened, because it was a lovely outside classroom for the children – it was the children they were hurting with mindless violence.

‘So I’m quite emotional to see it – we’re really proud.

‘The children deserve it.’

Titchfield Primary School officially opened their new allotment on Friday, May 24.''Pictured is: (back l-r) Refkah Hawkridge (11), Connor Miller (8) and Rico Daiboun (11) with (front l-r) Lacey Collins (8), Francesca Donovan (6), Jessica Yarrow (5) and Erin Hale (10).''Picture: Sarah Standing (240519-8409)

Titchfield Primary School officially opened their new allotment on Friday, May 24.''Pictured is: (back l-r) Refkah Hawkridge (11), Connor Miller (8) and Rico Daiboun (11) with (front l-r) Lacey Collins (8), Francesca Donovan (6), Jessica Yarrow (5) and Erin Hale (10).''Picture: Sarah Standing (240519-8409)

Erin Hale, 10, one of the school’s Young Governors said: ‘It was sad when we couldn’t do any learning outside – now we’re all really excited that we can.’

Each year group in the school has their own allotment plot to look after, with plants from lemon balm to cabbage having been planted with help from Titchfield in Bloom.

Pupils in the Eco Warrior Lunch club will look after the site’s flower beds.

The allotment already has pupils excited about digging up the vegetables – and eating their greens.

Rafkah Hawkridge, 11, said: ‘I’m looking forward to digging up the peas.

‘Our shop sells only frozen peas, so it will be nice to have them straight from pods!’

The area has come a long way from looking like a ‘bomb site’ according to Dave Prowing, contract manager at Maebills Builders, based in Rowlands Castle.

Headteacher Michelle approached the builders for their help while they were working on A27 improvement works outside the school in 2016.

Dave said: ‘It was a pleasure helping the school.

‘It made a nice change from our usual work.

‘It was hard work bringing in the concrete rings – but worth it.’

The cost of the concrete rings – made from recycled concrete material – was met by a £2,000 grant from Bags Of Help, Tesco’s fundraising activities for projects around its stores.

Michelle said she was delighted community support meant ‘no money from the school budget’ was used to transform the area.

Mayor Pamela Bryant, who cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the allotment, said: ‘What makes this a really lovely story is how the community has pulled together to help the school.’