It's been an award-winning couple of weeks for the garden culminating in national acclaim for our educational work.
We won third prize in Brighton's annual City in Bloom for best wildlife garden and best community charity garden (Moulsecoomb Primary were we run gardening clubs won Gold for best school grounds) winning a national award was the icing on the King Alfreds cake.
The People, Environment and Achievement award (PEA) focused on our on-going work in Queensdown Woods backing onto our gardens (turn left at the compost loo, just before the bee hives) which we fought to be included in the South Downs National Park. The judges said ‘Queensdown Woods is a great example of how pioneering education projects – such as Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project – are giving birth to new offshoots that have real impact on the area and the people who live there.’
The woods have become an essential part of our outdoor classroom and part of our open college. But this isn't about being an exam factory but about the quality of the intervention for pupils, many of whom struggle in a conventional classroom. Much of our work is one-to-one so we can tailor their education to their specific needs with a high degree of mentoring. Our intervention not only helps with pupils schoolwork but the qualifications will help move these young people into employment, work experience, apprenticeships or further training. Two pupils from Brighton Aldridge Community Academy who have passed their woodland studies exam with us will now start their NCFE in Level 3 in creative crafts. This is an equivalent to an A level and will take them a year to complete.
The once unloved Queensdown Woods is now a fantastic place to have on so many people's doorstep – without the need to drive anywhere – introducing so many young people to the joys and magic of woodlands.
* Find out what we can offer pupils http://www.seedybusiness.org/education.shtml
* The South Downs Society have funded us so we can update the current Queensdown Woods management plan