This year has been an exciting year for Northgate High School after winning a gold medal for our garden entry at The Royal Norfolk Show. Mr MacDonald decided to go a step further and enter the garden for a National competition with Cultivation Street.

Founder David Domoney explains the story behind Cultivation Street

‘It was Christmas, and I was walking down the local street when I noticed how the lights and decorations had become such a big part of the front of people’s houses.

What started as one or two eccentrics back in the late 90s has today become stunning lighting displays across whole streets. Seeing how it has pulled people together, with parents taking their children to see the magic of Christmas, I thought, wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could do that with gardens too? So I decided to create a garden competition that recognises and rewards communities that are caring for their streets, as well as encouraging other communities to join together and start anew.

It was originally conceived as a front garden campaign, but soon expanded to include community gardening projects, neighbourhood schemes and school gardens. Creating beautiful gardens isn’t just about the end result – it’s the feel-good journey. It promotes respect for the community across all ages, teaches our children about nature and creates a space for everyone to enjoy and benefit from. I wanted to replicate this experience across the UK.

I joined forces with national newspaper the Sunday People and now the Sunday Mirror to get the message out to a huge audience and show just what could be achieved through community gardening, not by TV gardeners or people in the industry, but by ordinary people who in many cases have never gardened before.’

In 2016 Northgate High School received a certificate of commendation from David Domoney for a successful project and the interest in horticulture and continued efforts developing the External Learning Facility (ELF) and encouraging students to be involved.

This year our Dementia Friendly garden made the shortlist of 11 schools, which was an achievement in itself. The shortlist were to be judged in front of a panel in London on the 21st of August. The entry went forward with a number of images from the garden, involving the students and what they had done to make it possible. Mr MacDonald had completed all the paperwork to meet the criteria of the entry for the judges below:  

The judges this year included: Lady Salisbury,Gemma Aldridge – The Sunday Mirror, Lauren Hall – ITV, Neil Fishlock – Calliope, Jeryl Stone – Chairwoman of the Women’s Institute, Simon Sadinsky – Prince’s Foundation, Stephen Dowbiggen – Director of Dowbiggen Associates Ltd, David Morley – Retail Director Clifton Nurseries Ltd.

The success of the garden continued resulting in a Runner Up position in this National competition. On the Cultivation Street website, after the result were announced, the judges said of Northgate’s entry that they were ‘impressed by the purpose behind this garden, which attempts to raise awareness of dementia in association with a local care home. The school have also held plant sales in support of the Alzheimer’s Society. As a result, the children have learnt about dementia and have been able to connect with people in the local care home that live with the illness and their families.’

Northgate are being presented with £500 and 100 geranium plants to improve more areas around our school. An area of particular interest will be an area outside the Maths classrooms, including the ‘Trigonome-tree’. Not a spelling mistake, just a clever name for the wonderful pine tree outside our Maths department to help inspire pupils into learning key Mathematical and Scientific formulae.

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