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Tommy walsh with students in the garden

TV?s Tommy Walsh helps students design college gardens

25th October 2016

A group of students got a special lesson in landscaping from TV's Tommy Walsh last Thursday.

The students aged 14-16 came to Barking & Dagenham College after struggling in a school environment. For the majority, mainstream education has not provided an environment for them to flourish in.

As part of their studies, the College arranged for them to be involved in a real-life landscaping project; a tired old garden, in dire need of a makeover, was given over to the students to redesign with the help of the celebrity Tommy Walsh.

Prior to Tommy's visit, the students were busily working on their designs, which Tommy then examined, helping them to decide on the final plan.

The garden design project is helping the young people to develop many useful life skills, for example, it is enabling them to take ownership and responsibility. They’ve also put their maths skills into practice to measure and plan their garden and have been honing their design skills too.

Tommy said "It's very interesting and exciting to be here today, to see the designs that the students have created. I hope that, once it is completed, the garden will be looked after and enjoyed by the students at Barking & Dagenham College for many years to come."

Student Reece Gibbs, aged 15 from Dagenham was thrilled with the opportunity:

"My grandad, who has now passed away, and I used to watch Ground Force every week together.

“So it's great to actually meet Tommy Walsh in the flesh today" adding "I have thoroughly enjoyed the project and my time so far at the college."

A group of Learning Difficulties and Disabilities students also have their own garden area at the College to landscape; in advance of Tommy's visit they each created some fabulous drawings of their garden designs, which were then presented to the special guest and a packed room full of other students and staff.

Tommy was very impressed by what he saw, saying: "The designs are fabulous and I'm looking forward to helping them to create their garden." He then enjoyed a well-earned cup of tea and cake with them and a tour or the grassy area, which will be transformed into their garden over the coming months.

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