29 June 2015

Students help council improve village meadow

As part of the school's ongoing service commitment, a number of Year 10 students undertook some gardening and tidying up in the nearby village of Farningham.

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Market Meadow is in the centre of the village of Farningham. It is a lovely riverside location used for fetes, weddings and other village celebrations as well as being a significant historic site of the remains of an Elizabethan manor and moat with an entrance from the river and wells within the building.

In 2011 the Meadow became the responsibility of the Farningham Village Hall charity which now owns and manages it. The meadow is bordered by a lovely old flint wall which is at times almost overwhelmed by a dense growth of ivy, shrubs and rampant weeds!

Once the weeds start reaching out to passers-by we know it is time to try some serious weed control and so we were really delighted when, out of the blue, we were offered the help of a group of volunteers by Sevenoaks School. On Friday June 26 a lively group of young students from the school arrived, with their tutor, at the village hall bright and early, well equipped with gloves plus plenty of energy and enthusiasm. They soon set to work clearing the wall of weeds and ivy. It was both a tough and delicate task as the wall is listed and listing! Much of the weed and ivy is almost assimilated into the flint and helps to hold it together, so easing it out without pulling the wall down is very difficult. They all managed it superbly.

After their morning’s work all flints were in place and all weeds vanquished! Another small group of volunteers went to Oliver Crescent, where the Parish Council has been trying to keep the village green neat and tidy for the enjoyment of parishioners and visitors. They worked with great energy and application and raked up 22 bags of grass cuttings.

They also delivered leaflets in Oliver Crescent to encourage residents to help in keeping the Crescent tidy on refuse collection days. People passing by on their way to the Farningham market in the village hall were most impressed by the energy and enthusiasm shown by the students as they worked and by how helpful and courteous they were to those they met and to each other.

The students worked very effectively together as a team and also took initiatives as individuals when one task was finished to find another. The volunteering was offered by the school as part of an enrichment programme for their students. It definitely enriched our environment by clearing and exposing the lovely old structure of the ancient flint wall and also in bringing such a hard working and effective group of young students into close contact with the people from the village of Farningham.

We hope that the young students enjoyed their morning working in the meadow in the sunshine as much as we appreciated their efforts and improvements to our environment.

Written by Farningham village charity representative

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