Plant Environment delivers outdoor focused environmental education projects to over 2,000 pupils in seven primary and secondary schools in Islington, where the majority of families do not have gardens or access to greenspace at home.
By learning how to grow and nurture plants; look after hens, create habitats for wildlife and participate in wildlife surveys, children grow up with a respect for their natural environment and understand their place within it.
Plant Environment relies on teams of volunteers to help with the development, maintenance and renovation of the outdoor spaces to enable the programme to be delivered and evolve.
Over the last year, the banking arm of MUFG have provided four teams of volunteers to Plant Environment projects in Islington - with 75 volunteers donating a total of 525 hours to support the project sites.
Sophia Ioannou, Environmental Tutor and founder of Plant Environment explains: “Volunteers play an important role in helping me to care for and develop the schools' outdoor environments. MUFG have been one of our biggest supporters and I am truly grateful for the positive contribution they make. The volunteers are a pleasure to work with, always willing, focused and committed to completing all tasks set and more.
“Team challenges are vital to the successful delivery of Plant Environment projects as the volunteers efforts help me turn ideas into reality as well as enhance the environment. As a result I can dedicate more of my time to developing and delivering activities and securing funding to continue this vital project.
“The work the volunteers do has a real impact. At one event, volunteers installed a complex irrigation system which ensured plants were watered through the summer holiday. The children were amazed to return in September to a bumper harvest of fruit and vegetables.
“Volunteers also helped us to get one of the school gardens tidied, set up and ready for an annual Open Garden Squares festival event which drew in visitors from around the UK. With their help, the event was a great success and many people commented on how beautiful the gardens looked.
“In addition to the physical help received, the budgets allocated to activities enable me to purchase much-needed tools, materials and equipment that can then be used after the activity. This has included the irrigation system, compost bins, gloves and trowels and wood chip for paths.
“We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support we receive from MUFG”