Sunderland primary schools dig deep to win gardening prizes

Two schools have won new gardening equipment after their triumph in a city-wide gardening competition.

The annual competition, organised by Gentoo and sponsored by builders Tolent, saw Dame Dorothy and St Benet’s RC Primary Schools, both in Roker, take the top prizes for their dedication to encouraging pupils to become involved in gardening.

The two schools were recognised in the community category of Gentoo’s Ready, Set, Grow! competition which launches each spring.

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St Benet’s were given a bench for the school garden to provide somewhere for the children to sit and enjoy nature, after a recent project saw the youngsters work to create an environmentally friendly and sustainable outdoor space.

Back from left: Catherine Loftus of Gentoo Group, teacher Gayle Stoddart and Chris Baillie of Tolent with green-fingered Dame Dorothy Primary School pupils.

Dame Dorothy received support for its scheme to create a new generation of sustainable gardeners.

The school’s garden features vegetable patches, where the children grow everything from carrots to plum tomatoes. To support its efforts, it has been given a composter, children’s wheelbarrows, bark and seed.

Catherine Loftus, head of Tenant Voice at Gentoo, said: “The work both primary schools are doing to encourage children to take up gardening and enjoy their outdoor spaces is brilliant and I’m delighted that through our annual gardening competition, we can recognise and support their amazing efforts.

“Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces was great and we’re proud to provide support for the schools after an extremely challenging period for the education sector.”

From left: teacher Gayle Stoddart, Catherine Loftus of Gentoo and Chris Baillie of Tolent with green-fingered Dame Dorothy Primary School pupils.

Chris Price, regional director of Tolent, said: “It was a pleasure to have supported this competition with Gentoo, who are really making a difference across a host of communities in Sunderland. ”

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