It’s been a while since we last heard from the ELF, so Mr MacDonald has taken the time to let us know what has been going on over the last few months.

The winter months were extremely challenging this year in the ELF as we were faced with a very long wet period of time. The battle was the daily checks on the animals and to ensure their welfare was being continuously catered for day after day and week after week. We have been extremely fortunate to have the support of Fred Nicholson School, as they are a regular contributor. Every Monday for a whole term on their “Outreach Programme” they continue to be a part of the ELF, supported by Mr MacDonald.

As the school goes through its improvements to the site, in particular on the roof, Mr MacDonald improves the ELF by using materials discarded by the contractors, such as pallets and scrap, which can quite easily be put to good use around the allotments or within the ELF area in general.

The global issue with plastic has also inspired the promotion of plastic bottle sculptures and ways to put them to use in the garden. The plan is to demonstrate to staff and students how we can use plastic and not just discard these items. Their use ranges from animal sculptures, to shelters and decorative animals, including useful containers.

Spring finally sprung in the ELF after a long awaited winter, plants were able to stretch and blossom and the sign of the bees was a welcoming sight to us all. As we know pollinators are vital to survival and the bees are hard at work.

So, what next for the ELF? Well the answer is simply to keep growing and encouraging as many students and staff to get involved with the outdoors and educate everyone about the value of being in the garden and fresh air. Northgate is an exciting school as we have been successful with our application to have a show garden at The Royal Norfolk Show 2018. Northgate High School is one of six schools in the county to make the final cut for a display garden. The six schools will have a 3m x 3m area to set up their garden ready for judging on the 27th June. We are fortunate to display at the entrance, where thousands of visitors will walk through on both days and see our garden. The theme we have chosen is “Wellbeing” and we will be promoting the awareness of Dementia, building on our link with Dementia Friends.

This has been a fantastic opportunity to utilise the skills and ideas, from conducting research about Dementia and involving the Student Council as they contribute to this project. We have used our links with the Dementia Friends in Dereham and Mrs Galley, Deputy Head of School, has kindly agreed to support the project as we move forward in the coming weeks. The garden will take on a very colourful and vibrant look, to ensure we capture and hopefully trigger memories of scent, texture, visual and literacy. Part of the display will involve Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit. This is quite good timing and with the joys of spring we have some new cuddly, cute arrivals.



We have also had fantastic support this year from Craig Stephens of Solana Potatoes UK. Craig has supplied the school with a bumper crop of potatoes seeds for the school garden. This is fantastic news particularly as the evidence discovered earlier in the year; potatoes are halting or slowing down the process of Dementia. SCOTS scientists are calling for people to eat more potatoes in order to help improve cognitive function and stave off dementia.

Just like potatoes, the ELF keeps growing and growing, so come and see for yourself.

A huge thank you to Mr MacDonald for his continued work and innovation in the ELF.