Your browser is unsupported and may have security vulnerabilities! Upgrade to a newer browser to experience this site in all it's glory.
Skip to main content
Sensory Garden York College University Centre 1

York College receives funding for Sensory Garden from the Skills and Education Group

In a bid to boost student well-being, York College has secured funding from the Skills and Education Group to develop a tranquil sensory garden at its offsite provision, The White Rose. This initiative aims to provide students with a serene space for quiet contemplation, offering an area away from the stresses of academic life.

The Skills and Education Group provide a wide range of services and support within the education sector and play a significant role in supporting the development and delivery of high-quality education and training initiatives.

Recognising the growing importance of mental health support within education, York College has taken proactive steps to prioritise the well-being of its students. The creation of this sensory garden aligns with the College's commitment to foster a supportive and inclusive environment.

The garden will serve as a sanctuary for those seeking moments of quiet reflection and will also be tended to by students studying the General Education programme. In many cases, students studying the General Education programme at York College come from a varying range of challenging backgrounds and so often require further support. Research indicates that spending time in green spaces can improve mental well-being and reduce stress and so it is hoped that the sensory garden will provide positive stimulation to the students.

General Education Tutor, Mandy Hardy went on to say:

“I teach 16 to 18-year-olds Level 2 and Level 3 General Education at our offsite provision, The White Rose.

“York College is a member of the Skills and Education Group, who provide training and guidance. There are many benefits to being a member of the Skills and Education Group. We get expertise, training, advice and guidance. They also hold fantastic training days and conferences that staff can go to, where we can go to network and to learn more about how they can support us.

“They can provide learner grants and access to specialist people. As we teach the hardest to reach students, we can apply for these grants to fund equipment such as laptops, noise cancelling headphones and materials. These resources enable our students to learn more effectively.

“The Resources and Facilities Grant is another benefit you are able to apply for with The Skills and Education Group. This provides a pot of money for something outside of the classroom that would enhance the student experience.

“We had begun our work at the White Rose Centre and were donated a piece of wasteland from the White Rose Football Club. We applied for the Resources and Facilities Grant as we wanted to turn the wasteland into a sensory garden.

“Our mission was to turn it into a place of calm and serenity as the students we teach have quite chaotic lives. We wanted somewhere really calm and peaceful for them to learn outside of the classroom.

“Creating the sensory garden was also an opportunity to involve the community. We got in touch with local businesses to ask for help and lots of people came forward. It’s been a fantastic group effort turning the wasteland into the beautiful sensory garden it is now.

“The space also allows us to teach our General Education students life skills and even helps them to consider a career in horticulture. We have tied in the qualification they are studying with what we are doing in the sensory garden. For example, the students have been learning about plants and the biology of how plants grow as well as how plants can heal people.

“It’s been an opportunity to demonstrate to students that learning can take place outside of the classroom and it allows us to show young people that once you start to work with nature, it helps your mood and well-being.

“Students can come to this garden, take out a spade or a trowel and then feel calmer. When they are calmer, they feel better within themselves which then helps them to learn. It just makes for such a nice environment. When they do feel on edge, it’s a place of safety, calm and serenity.

“As the garden is growing, so are the students. It’s brilliant!”

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development

Opportunities such as these, allow us to work towards a better future in line with The Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future”.

Which of the goals did this project benefit?