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A TASTE OF GOOD LIFE; GO GREEN Pupils get money to grow own vegetables.

Byline: By AMY HUNT Environment Reporter

PUPILS are celebrating a generous cash donation which will help them green their school grounds.

The Eco Club at St Peter's RC Primary School, in Low Fell, Gateshead, was given pounds 8,000 by Felling-based firm International Paint.

Members of the club, which works to raise awareness of environmental issues among all of the children and teachers at the school, plan to use the money to improve their playground.

They are set to put in raised beds and planters, for flowers and vegetables, as well as benches where pupils can sit and enjoy their new surroundings and a shed to store tools in.

The aim is to show the youngsters how easy it is to grow your own food and how small changes can make a big difference to the local environment.

Headteacher Lisa Stokoe said: "Last year our Eco Warriors designed the front yard and that has made a lot of difference. They wanted to have lots of plants to attract birds and insects. I think this shows the community we're really into environmental issues and want to help the area."

International Paint decided to make the award after being approached by employee Rachael Davidson, whose daughter Amy, seven, goes to St Peter's.

Alan Aitken, site manager at International Paint, on Stoneygate Lane, said: "As a company we are concerned with the environment so we were happy to support a programme like this. This is something that will be there for years to come that future generations can benefit from.

"We are primarily interested in getting our employees involved in community projects and we encourage them to come forward and show how we, as a company, can help them with sustainable activities.

"It is about trying to get across the message that industry is not this dirty, polluting enemy of the environment and this is one of the ways in which we reach out to the community."

Mrs Stokoe said: "We wouldn't have been able to do this without a huge injection of cash from International Paint. With the credit crunch we are feeling the pinch like everyone else and it's really good that we have companies in the area which are prepared to help out.

"It's a huge amount of money and we can do a lot with it.

There's an awful lot of equipment needed just to get started so we can afford to do that now."

The Eco Club at St Peter's is made up of pupils from Years 3, 4 and 5 at the school, who stay behind after classes to learn about saving water, cutting energy use, gardening, recycling and composting.

They have also come up with their own ideas for green projects.

Members visited an allotment to find out about growing things like tomatoes, peppers, leeks and radishes.

The school is now hoping to win a Green Flag.

CAPTION(S):

PLAYGROUND IMPROVEMENTS: St Peter's pupils Marlene, eight, slides down behind Amy, seven; GREAT NEWS: Pupils celebrate with parent Rachael Davidson, IP's Alan Aitken and head Lisa Stokoe PICTURES: LEANNE HOLCROFT www.chroniclelive.co.uk/buyaphoto ref: 01421004
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 3, 2009
Words:520
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