Born Again Pond

Maidstone and Malling Alternative Provision Service students have been hugely successful with their Pay It Forward grant to create and develop their Born-Again Pond. Young people have been able to design, build and maintain the pond using money provided by the HeadStart grant.

Students have built a handrail for the steps to provide better access for all, they laid paving around the pond edge to make it safe for younger children, built seating benches and plant boxes, bought and installed solar panels in and underneath the pond to keep the temperature sustainable, and bought and planted some trees. The work continues and is a developing project, with some more of the grant funding being used to create a decking area.

The local elderly residential homes have benefitted as they come and use the garden area and pond during weekends and holidays

All the ideas and work has been undertaken by the young people themselves, supported by school staff. It has been a positive project for the students, and they have been able to gain a Level 1 B-Tech Science qualification as a result of this project, as well as each completing a Level 1 Health and Safety certificate.

One member of staff said it has been invaluable as ‘it is another way for us to understand our young people’s mindset, and we can help them along the way, with how they work and what support they need. It has helped the whole school. We have found this has turned into an outdoor safe space, becoming a reflection area for young people. Staff also use it sometimes for education if a young person is struggling to engage in the classroom. Our students have created it, so they respect it and look after it.’

Not only have the school staff and students benefitted, but also ‘the local elderly residential homes have benefitted as they come and use the garden area and pond during weekends and holidays. They really appreciate the space. It has helped to build relationships with the residents.’

Young people themselves reported ‘It gave me confidence to lead and be the boss’ which ‘gave us experience and we did involve everybody.’ What an amazing project!