Building community roots

Residents from Knightstone Housing Association’s development at Mulberry Gardens in Staple Hill have helped pupils at a nearby school make themselves at home by planting a mulberry bush in their new children’s garden.

The residents raised the money to provide the mulberry bush for the striking new Staple Hill Primary School site on Page Road because they wanted to give something back to the children who had come up with a new name for the development.

Along with the bush they presented £50 worth of vouchers for the pupils to spend at a local garden centre.

Nick Horne, chief executive of Weston-super-Mare based Knightstone Housing said the school had built up an enviable relationship with its neighbours – both old and new.

He said: “Staple Hill Primary has just moved out of its old Victorian building into a fine new centre which really lifts the community. We were delighted to hear the residents had decided to mark the opening of the new school in this way.”

Resident Mr Michael Stanley said the unusually close relationship dated back to the building of the Knightstone Housing Association development when school pupils had been invited to take a look around the site and name the new street.

He said: “When the children went to see where the new houses were, they found they had to go down lots of little roads – all around the mulberry bush! So that’s how they came up with the name of Mulberry Gardens.

“The pupils did something for us so we thought it would be a nice idea, now that they’ve got a new school, to do something for them,” he explained.

The mulberry bush was the first thing to be planted in the school grounds since the work done by landscape architects during the new building’s design.

Ms Beard’s Year 5 class were on hand to help get the bush off to a good start. Three of the school’s ‘eco-tigers’, Lucy, Caitlyn, and Francesca, filled in the soil around the plants roots.

They then carefully covered the ground with wood chips. Lucy and Francesca help with the school’s composting programme and Caitlyn helps the school conserve water.

Liz Rackstore from Mulberry Gardens, who came along to watch the planting ceremony, said she remembered going to the old school as a young girl.

She said: “I am certainly very impressed with the new building. It wasn’t like this when I went to Staple Hill Primary!”

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