Children from Ellingham C of E Aided First School paid a visit to The Alnwick Garden Trust for a special preview of a new exhibition and charity partnership between Traidcraft and The Alnwick Garden Trust, taking place over Easter.
The primary pupils, from Ellingham in Northumberland, were invited along by pioneering fair trade organisation Traidcraft to help celebrate the launch of a new charity partnership with The Alnwick Garden Trust, which manages and delivers the attraction’s community projects.
The activity centres around the Garden’s popular “Roots and Shoots” project, which educates children about living a healthy lifestyle and where their food comes from. The Roots and Shoots project teaches children to pot, plant and sow, in an environment where they’re learning and having fun.
Traidcraft is partnering with The Alnwick Garden Trust to promote its ‘Let It Grow’ campaign, which aims to help smallholder farmers in some of the world’s poorest countries to develop their farming practices and in doing so build the skills to trade their way out of poverty.
The pupils brought along their favourite toys and learned about the prized possessions of children growing up in Bangladesh, one of the countries in which Traidcraft operates. Here, children have no choice but to make toys from practically anything they can find, including old tyres and pieces of furniture.
The children finished their day off by making simple ribbon toys, which have become a symbol of the Let It Grow campaign after children in India and Myanmar, whose families are supported by Traidcraft projects, created them to show their support of the organisation’s work.
Diane Lakey, head teacher at Ellingham C of E Aided First School, said: “We were delighted to support Traidcraft and The Alnwick Garden Trust with this campaign as Fairtrade and preparing our pupils to be global citizens are an embedded part of our school ethos. The children loved their time in the Garden, particularly when they got wet by the cascade.”
Let It Grow activities, which take place on April 6th, include lessons on potting and planting in the Roots and Shoots Garden; and the chance to show support for the campaign by making brightly coloured ribbon toys.
A striking photography exhibition capturing images of children in Traidcraft communities in rural Bangladesh runs until April 8th.
Visitors with an adventurous nature can also discover a bamboo house hidden deep in one of the Garden’s most popular attractions, the bamboo labyrinth. The house is typical of those that farmers in countries such as Myanmar live in with their families.
Natasha Addis, Head of Charity Programmes at The Alnwick Garden Trust, said: “We’re delighted with the partnership between The Alnwick Garden Trust and Traidcraft’s Let It Grow campaign and welcome the children for a preview of our exciting plans. The exhibition and activities will be a fantastic addition to the Garden over Easter and we’re sure that children and parents alike will not only enjoy them but also learn a little about the lives of farmers and their families in developing countries at the same time.
“It perfectly partners our successful Roots and Shoots community project with school children across the region. Some children have never known the joy of growing, picking and tasting fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables and we are delighted to increase awareness of our charities alongside Traidcraft. The Alnwick Garden Trust is the parent company of The Alnwick Garden Enterprises. The Trust operates the Elderberries, Sprouts and Enterprise Programmes. The Trust places great emphasis on the importance of play for a healthy childhood and the whole garden is focussed on offering children the space and the opportunity for creative play.”
Larry Bush, Marketing Director at Traidcraft, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with The Alnwick Garden to promote our Let It Grow campaign. Across the world, every night 300 million children in the developing world go to bed hungry. We’re hoping that visitors to the Garden will enjoy our activities, learn a little about farming practices in developing countries, and perhaps be moved to donate and help us truly make a difference to the lives of families around the world.”