Volunteers for children’s gardening scheme wanted on Hayling Island

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CAN YOU spare time to plant seeds that will turn into a love of gardening in the minds of children?

That’s what organisers of Growing Together, a scheme dedicated to teaching schoolchildren on Hayling Island about all things horticultural, are asking.

Volunteers are needed to assist with the running of gardening clubs at the island’s five schools, and children gathered outside Hayling Community Centre to show passers-by what they do.

Tony Athill, 64, is a volunteer at Mengham Junior School’s Gardening Club. He said: ‘Growing Together (GT) is about encouraging children to learn how plants grow, showing them where food comes from, stimulating their minds, and demonstrating the power of teamwork.

‘Bill Biggs is the chair of the Hayling Island Horticultural Society, he set up GT and tried to get all five schools on the island involved with the scheme.

‘The problem is we don’t have enough volunteers to do that. Mengham Junior and Infant School are in desperate need of help.

‘This event was about recruiting passers-by to help and the seven children present gave them an idea of what kinds of things we do at our sessions.

‘The prime activity of the clubs happens from Easter up to the summer holidays.

‘Those wanting to help out don’t need to have lots of expertise as ultimately it’s all about learning.’

Hayling College, Mill Rythe Junior School and Mill Rythe Infant School, and Mengham Junior School and Mengham Infant School all need helpers.

Stuart Rowlatt, eight, is from Mengham Junior School and is part of the Gardening Club. He said: ‘I love the club, we grow potatoes, tomatoes, radishes,

‘Last year I grew the first vegetable we could eat, it was a radish.

‘I’m very proud of it.’

Anyone who is interested in volunteering should e-mail tony.athill@ntlworld.com.