West Nottinghamshire College

Completed: 2022
Location: Nottingham
Region: East Midlands
Other local partners: Nottinghamshire County Council, Sport England, Travis Perkins Mansfield

About the project

Students at West Nottinghamshire College transformed a barren piece of land at their Derby Road campus while learning new skills for the future.

The foundation studies team were keen to turn an unused grassy space, which sits between the college’s restaurant area and the animal care unit, into a kitchen garden which would both nurture the students’ horticultural and environmental skills as well as grow produce for the restaurant’s kitchens and the animals in the neighbouring unit.

We created raised growing beds set with new vegetables, herbs and flowers, created a shed, composting bin and wider paved areas to enable students in wheelchairs to enjoy the same access to the garden as able-bodied students. This will enable them to put new skills into practice and to help broaden their knowledge on the food supply chain and environmental impact of food miles.

The project was supported by the Mansfield branch of our trade partner, Travis Perkins, who provided wooden sleepers, paving slabs and a large potting shed to help turn the bare grassy area into a new garden space over a period of just three weeks. This was overseen by Assistant Branch Manager Zoe Ruston, herself a former media production student at the college’s Derby Road campus.

More than 23 foundation studies students have spent practical lessons out in the garden throughout May, mentored and coached by our Trade Skills mentors, who have introduced them to a range of joinery, construction and painting skills, resulting in the group being awarded Entry Level 3 accreditations in carpentry and health and safety. 

Funded by the UK Community Renewal Fund.

It’s been really rewarding helping this group, they’ve picked up so many skills and it’s been good to put my supervisory knowledge to great use too. William Walker, Level 3 Joinery Student at the college / VIY Peer Mentor
We’re so incredibly fortunate to have been successful in securing this wonderful project support from VIY. The whole team has been patient and reassuring to our students, including them in every aspect of this garden transformation. I couldn’t be prouder of how well the students have worked, picking up great new talents and an Entry Level 3 qualification. I know we will have many years of rewarding activities resulting from having our own kitchen garden. Helen Wilcockson