WORK has begun to transform a neglected courtyard at Farnham Heath End School into an area for students to use.

The first step began last Thursday (May 27) when a group of student volunteers planted up two raised beds with an array of colourful plants, donated by Farnham Town Council.

The garden, which is located in the centre of the school site, has been out of bounds for students as it has fallen into disrepair and is no longer structurally safe.

The town council will sponsor the project and the next step will be to make raised structures in the garden safe and replace the rotting wooden benches. Groundsmen from the town council helped students to plant up the raised beds, marking the start of the partnership.

New Farnham Mayor, Councillor Alan Earwaker, visited school to mark the occasion with students.

Assistant principal, Dan Conquer, who is leading on the garden project, said: “The courtyard garden is a focal point for the school, right in the middle of our site.

“But it has been unloved and unused. It is a great space in our school so we are very excited to be bringing it back into use as an area that students can benefit from.

“We are hugely grateful to Farnham Town Council for their support in making this possible.”

And the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening, including fresh air, exercise and relaxation – as well as the enjoyment of home grown fruit and vegetables – are widely recognised and Farnham Town Council hope to tempt new volunteers into taking part in this year’s activities.

Farnham Town Council Business and Facilities Manager, Ian McCready, said: “The reason we decided to do this is because we have always been involved with primary schools and wanted to get involved with a secondary school.

“This is a great project for us.”

Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Alan Earwaker added: “The school has a lovely garden area which the students use as an educational resource and quiet area.

“The Farnham in Bloom team worked with a group of young people to fill the pond with soil, plan a planting scheme suitable for the conditions, carry out the planting and advise on caring for the new bed.

“The students got stuck-in with the practical work and gained some great gardening knowledge too choosing a selection of plants beneficial to wildlife and attractive to pollinators.

“They learnt about how gardeners are changing their planting schemes to adapt to climate change, such as by opting for plants that need less water, and how gardens are playing an important part in improving biodiversity by attracting insects, birds and mammals.”