Norwich school wins �10,000 grant

Peter WalshYoungsters at a Norwich school are celebrating getting a grant to help them grow up green-fingered and healthy.Peter Walsh

Youngsters at a Norwich school are celebrating getting a grant to help them grow up green-fingered and healthy.

Lionwood Junior School in Thorpe Hamlet has been awarded �2,300 from the University of East Anglia's community engagement fund to help expand their programme of learning about healthy eating and food preparation.

The money will help fund a trip to Wiveton Hall near Holt to visit the working garden and discover how the children can grow their own food in the future.

It will also bolster the school's popular ecology club, which has been growing fruit and vegetables in the garden and last year conducted a taste test between traditional orange carrots and lesser-known white and purple varieties.

Parent support advisor Helen Bloomfield said the projects were aimed at empowering families to make healthier choices together, not just at educating the students.

'We had a quiz day where we brought in food and asked the children to say what parts of a plant they thought each item was,' she said.

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'We had things like celery and beetroot, and we found some of the students had never experienced some of the food before.

'We're trying to help them be more aware of what they can eat and where it comes from, and to understand that they can even grow food themselves - not everything comes pre-packaged.'

In January the school invited a speaker from the Food Research Unit to speak to students and parents about sustainable and healthy eating at home, work which Mrs Bloomfield hopes will continue.

She said the school was also hoping to enable all students to eat a healthy breakfast in school, to cut down on the numbers of students who skipped the first meal of the day or relied on unhealthy corner shop food to get them going in the morning.

'I'm hoping all the work we are doing will be sustainable,' she said. 'It's vital to get parents and extended families involved.

'School has changed since a lot of parents were there, and we want to make sure school is seen as a positive place and our students are enjoying learning as part of a strong community.

'I think if everyone realised that they can grow some of their own food that has benefits not only for health but for finances as well.

'The students will take that learning home and use it as they grow up.'