The week was incredibly busy for us all as we prepared for two more days of judging for the South and South East in Bloom.
This year we had been asked to be part of Farnham's bid to win Gold, a huge honour for us, so we were determined to ensure we did the acre proud. There was lots of last minute preparation, weeding, mowing and putting up of bunting resulting in a beautiful looking acre Tuesday morning. We had only 18 minutes to explain the project but those who have benefitted from the acre in terms of their mental health and wellbeing had a chance to discuss the importance of the acre in their lives with the judges and there was a true sense of community conveyed. We also had the facilitators of the parenting courses explaining how the setting was so beneficial to the parents and care givers to have an opportunity to reflect on family life.
Wednesday saw another round of judging, again the judging was a whirlwind with just 15 minutes to show the judges everything! But we rose to the challenge and upon exiting one of the judges turned briefly for one last look and said " God's own acre"! I think he was impressed...
After two days of consecutive judging we then looked forward to the arrival of our school children from Hackney - 55 children accompanied by their teachers!
The children had a well structured afternoon of events; Millers Ark arrived with a trailer load of animals - baby pigs, goats, geese, donkeys, chickens and ducks - and soon the children were stroking the menagerie or picking them up for a closer experience. The cheeky goats spotted a slightly ajar gate and had a mini escape at one point but were soon lured back with a bucket of food!
Away from the animals other activities were taking place; the children were split into groups to learn about the nature that surrounded them; discovering the wonders of our wildflowers and the important part they play in ensuring that we have lots of healthy pollinators. Artwork was in abundance as they did a form of screenprinting, using sticks to beat images of plants onto paper. A big highlight of the afternoon was the scarecrow competition which was judged by our very own mayor, Councillor Pat Evans, which was very exciting for all the children!
It was a tremendous success and the children will remember their trip to Farnham for years to come with great fondness and we thoroughly enjoyed hosting them too. A big thank you to everyone who helped make the visit the success it was.