Five Acre Wood Project
Snodland Station Improvements
Towards the end of 2019, Five Acre Wood students had a few weeks to go back to school and come up with ideas to make improvements to the front of Snodland Station. The students cooked a Christmas dinner for Kent CRP and the station Manager of Southeastern and presented their ideas.The ideas from the students were then all combined and a plan developed.
The next step was to measure the area and calculate the materials needed for the project and the costs involved.
Work began on developing the area over a week in May. The students spent the first three days clearing the weeds and grass so construction could take place. By Friday the 17th May the planters were in place and the bark chipping spread.
The construction students joined in with the project and were tasked with creating 5 smaller planters. The next stage was to line and fill planters to help preserve them before filing the planters with 8 tonnes of top soil in preparation for planting.
The final part of this project for this academic year was to plant up the area. A group of students went shopping at the garden centre to choose suitable plants and herbs to grow, making sure they didn't go over their allocated budget. Finally, the area was planted up and the front of Snodland Station was transformed.
On Friday September 20th, an opening ceremony was held. This was to celebrate the hard work of all those involved in making this project a success. This included inviting guest from the local community, Five Acre Wood School, Southeastern, The Snodland Partnership, ACoRP, (Now Community Rail Network), Kent County Council and BJA Civil Consulting Ltd who ether gave up their time or helped to fund the project. Students art work has also been displayed in the ticket office.
The work doesn't stop there for Five Acre Wood Students. They have now officially become Station Adopters and will maintain the area. They also have big plans to tackle the allotment area behind platform 2 to grow their own food. We look forward to seeing the how that develops over the next year and congratulate the school for all the amazing work on this project.
One Year Later
Despite Covid19, Five Acre Wood Students and Staff have worked hard to keep the area weed free and welcoming for visitors. Students visit the area to collect seed and take cuttings to grow new plants. Students with sensory needs also love the feel of the plants such as the fennel growing in the herb planter. Meanwhile, wonderful art work by the students have been displayed in the ticket office to brighten up the bare walls.
The area is being respected by the local communities, with a huge reduction in littering and residents have commented on the significant difference it makes as you approach the station. Plans for developing the allotment area have been delayed but are part of the exciting plans ahead.
In November 2020, the Snodland footbridge was repaired and given a face-lift. Inevitably, part of the garden had to be removed to allow for the work to be carried out. In May 2021, once the restrictions had lifted, it was possible to replant the area.
On Friday 21st May, 30 Students from Five Acre Wood Snodland, visited the station throughout the day to plant new shrubs. Bam Nuttall kindly paid for the replacement of plants and along with Network Rail, were on hand to give advice and support on planting the shrubs.
The garden is now acknowledged as one of the best kept gardens on the Southeastern network.
This project has only been possible due to the passion and support of all those involved. Kent CRP would like to thank BJA Civil Consulting Ltd for their support and time in volunteering during the construction week and donation of some of the materials.
Community Rail Network, Kent County Council and Snodland Partnership for providing additional funding for the project.
Sustrans volunteers for helping with the construction and planting stages.
We would also like to thank the local community and of course Southeastern for allowing the project to go ahead.
Finally a huge thank you to all the students and Tutors from Five Acre Wood who have given up many hours to work on this project.
Highlighting Hidden Disabilities - Celebrating Differences
Did you know that in the UK around 14 million people have a disability? (70% of those are invisible).
In October 2021, the students wanted to brighten up the bike store next to their station garden with some artwork, so they created a wonderful sunflower mural.
The Sunflower Mural was installed in January 2022 and aims to help raise awareness of hidden disabilities and that everyone is different.
All students have disabilities, most of them hidden. The whole school (160 students) produced a range of designs before selecting those for the mural.
The sunflower is the symbol for hidden disabilities and appears on the sunflower lanyard which Southeastern provide to recognise passengers with hidden disabilities.