A school’s overgrown allotment space – at risk of being given up due to its state – has had a stunning transformation after a team of gas engineers spotted an SOS appeal on social media.
St Bede C of E Academy has had a plot on the allotments off Back Sampling Road South, Bolton, for 16 years. The space was enjoyed by the whole school community.
But it had more recently fallen into a sorry state. Funding challenges and managing many other priorities led eventually to so much needing to be done that nothing got done. There was even talk of giving it up.
In one final push to save it, staff formed a working party and appealed for help on social media.
This came to the attention of the team at PGL Pipelines, who have been working in the area upgrading gas distribution pipes on behalf of gas network Cadent. They decided to take up the challenge.
On a purely voluntary basis, and after calling in a few favours from suppliers such as builders merchants Travis Perkins and skip hire firm Bithells, they’ve been able to give the allotments a much-needed revamp – making them useable again as an outdoor teaching space.
"Our dreams have come true" - head of school
“Our dreams have come true – we can’t thank them enough,” said head of school, Sarah Rostron. “This is going to be an amazing resource, not just for school, but for other groups in the local community.”
Aaron Ashbarry, director at PGL Pipelines, said: “We spotted they needed a little help and we were more than happy to do it. It looks great and we know it will make a huge difference to the school and community here.”
Kevin Flynn, from Cadent, added: “We have a big gas main upgrade programme ongoing in Bolton, which means our teams and partners are spending a lot of time here. Over time, you become a part of the community, so doing something like this is a great way to give back and leave a lasting impression.”
Why we're upgrading Bolton's older gas mains
Around £50m is being invested by Cadent in the North West this year, and every year for the next 10 years, to upgrade older gas mains that have reached the natural end of their working lives. That includes more than 20,000 metres of mains in Bolton during the 2021/22 programme alone, some of which date back more than 100 years.