Politician praise for college partnership focused on wildlife and wellbeing

A GROWING partnership cultivated between a leading college and environmental charity was praised by a North Wales politician on a visit to a blossoming wildlife garden.

Alyn and Deeside MS Jack Sargeant was at Coleg Cambria yesterday (Tuesday) to experience the ‘wildlife corridor’ and wellbeing garden which has become a huge hit with students and staff in Deeside.

Jobs Growth Wales+ learners, staff and members of the Construction Trainee Academy began work on the 40 sq metre site a year ago, with the support of Keep Wales Tidy and their Local Places for Nature project.

Having also received sponsorship from local business Monkey Lady Corporate Wear, the group planted more than 100 trees, wildflowers, and meadows, 2000 native bulbs, shrubs and more.

Now in full bloom, the grounds look spectacular and will again be popular this academic year.

“It’s great to see the work Keep Wales Tidy are facilitating on the Coleg Cambria site,” said Jack, who hails from Connah’s Quay.

“Access to a relaxing enjoyable learning environment can really enhance a student’s experience and I look forward to seeing the wildlife garden progress.

“The project provides a great opportunity for students who may not have access to green spaces at home to connect with nature and learn more about growing their own fruit and vegetables.

“This is just one example of how Welsh Government funding through Keep Wales Tidy is benefiting communities by providing places for nature whilst improving the local environment.”

In addition to landscaping, the learners also built wooden planters and the renovated area includes seating, a greenhouse, disabled access, bird feeders, hedgehog boxes and space for people to relax, and for tutors to hold outdoor learning sessions.

Classroom assistant Brian Valentine was a driving force behind the scheme and thanked Keep Wales Tidy for their help in transforming a “lost” patch of land into a garden they can be proud of.

“This has made such a difference, especially for the students after years of lockdown, self-isolation and the challenges they faced in the pandemic,” said Brian.

“We are thrilled with the end result and are so grateful for the support of Keep Wales Tidy and everyone here at the college.”

Nicola Gaughran, Assistant Principal for Foundation Learning, ILS and Jobs Growth Wales+, added: “Well done to everyone involved in the creation of this wonderful garden, I’m sure it will provide a lasting legacy for many years to come.

“It has already proven to be a haven for learners, visitors and staff to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet, and as there is so much nature on our doorstep it will prove beneficial as an area of conservation for wildlife – it’s an amazing space.”

Keep Wales Tidy Flintshire Project Officer Wendy Jones said: “We’re delighted to see the real difference that Coleg Cambria has made through Local Places for Nature. We know that gardening and being out in nature has a positive impact on mental wellbeing, as well as being a great way to keep fit and meet new people.

“We hope other communities will be inspired to get involved, apply for a free pack and create their own space for nature and people to enjoy.”

To apply for a free garden pack, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru/nature.

Visit www.cambria.ac.uk for the latest news and information from Coleg Cambria.