Bellshill Academy opens sensory garden for the community to use

The opening of the sensory garden at Bellshill Academy
The opening of the sensory garden at Bellshill Academy

A tranquil outdoor space has been created at Bellshill Academy in an unused courtyard area for the benefit of pupils, staff and local community groups.

Members of the school’s eco-group helped to design the space as well as planting shrubs and flowers in the raised beds.

Community groups in the town, such as Hatton Lea Care Home and the YMCA along with local primaries and nurseries, will be the first to get to use the new garden.

Jodie McGraw, acting head teacher of Bellshill Academy, said: “We have managed to create a space that is stimulating and welcoming.

“It will encourage young people to go outdoors into the fresh air which we know has massive benefits to mental health and wellbeing.

“More than this, the space will enable us to show to the community of Bellshill on a day to day basis what modern teaching looks like and show off how good, cooperative and committed our young couple are.

“Hopefully, it will also take away some of the mystery about what life in a secondary school is really like.”

The £20,000 development, which was funded by North Lanarkshire Council’s Local Development Programme, took place over two phases.

Mossend and Holytown councillor Frank McNally, who is also convener of Education, said: “The new garden will be a welcome addition to everyone attached to Bellshill Academy and the wider community. I’d like to congratulate and thank everyone involved with this fantastic project.”

The first phase saw the construction of a ramp to allow access to the area by wheelchair users.

The second then included the construction of timber sleeper raised planting beds, the installation of the performance area, the creation of the pattern of narrow colored ‘pathways’ snaking through the site for visual stimulation and interest.

Other works included the preparation of tree pits for future planting, top-soiling and wildflower and grass seeding.

Mrs McGraw added: “We’re grateful for the support of the Local Development Programme and Bellshill Local Area partnership, NLC Contactors, NLC Designers and staff of Tesco, Morrison’s and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme for their support.”

The works were carried out by Caley Construction Ltd.