Sowing the Seed

A train trip, a station garden, walking and bus-ing; when it comes to sowing the seeds of sustainability into future generations, Team Platform don’t do things by half!

Last month, Soo worked with staff and students from Oasis New Oak Academy to plan a trip that covered rail safety and confidence to travel, as well as having tasks and activities that linked to their classroom-focus; sustainability.

Prior to travel, Soo visited the students in school to deliver a pre-travel workshop, engaging them with specialist QR coding to answer rail-safety questions (pre and post workshop), and encouraging them to get dressed up whilst learning about people who can help on the railway.

Then, on the day of the trip, Soo met the school at the bus stop; the Platform team were so impressed that school staff made the decision to bring students to the station by public bus, meaning they had a chance to practice this important life skill and to engage in healthy and active travel.

At Bristol Temple Meads, Soo asked the students to recap their learning from the workshop (they had remembered an impressive amount), and took the opportunity to point out features of such a large station. Then, it was all aboard the GWR service to Avonmouth, where students exited the train and went for a very special visit to the Avonmouth Secret Garden.

The garden is tucked away in a disused compound on Platform 1 and is a collaborative project between Incredible Edible Bristol, and Severnside Community Rail Partnership. Set up in 2019, the garden is now a beautiful, blooming gem that, amongst some of its other activities, provides produce for the local community centre.

At the garden, the students were given a tour by Luke, from Incredible Edible, who explained the garden’s links to sustainability, and the role that growing your own produce can play in a more sustainable future.

Before leaving Avonmouth, students visited the level crossing at the station, putting their workshop learning into practice by crossing it safely and sensibly. It was then on to their second train of the day, headed for Severn Beach.

With the influence of transport on society so visible from Severn Beach, the location was perfect for continuing the sustainability theme by exploring  how transport has changed over time, and how it could change in the future by becoming more environmentally friendly. The students then walked to Severn Beach Village Hall to finish their learning with a creative task, eat their packed lunches, and have a play in the accompanying playground, before walking back to the station to catch their return train.

On the journey back, students were given copies of Arlo’s Adventures, and also participated in playing a transport card game. With plenty going on – including the wonderful views of the Severn Beach Line – the journey flew (or chugged) by and it was soon time to leave the train at Bristol Temple Meads.

The students and teachers caught the bus back to school, thus wrapping up their sustainability-focused day in appropriate style.

Soo Jackson, Learning Development Officer at Platform, said, “Avonmouth community garden is a living example of sustainable food: growing food for the local community and focusing on the needs of wildlife. We had such an inspiring visit to the garden – showing the children what is possible in a small space with a little imagination. What a brilliant day!”

As always, the team gives thanks to funders – GWR, Cross Country and The Community Rail Network – and to GWR for giving free travel for rail education. Thanks to them, the trip was delivered free of charge to the school.

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For more information and support, you can contact the Platform team here.