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Hilton Spencer Academy’s garden gang sells sunflowers to raise money for Ukranian refugees

Grown from seeds donated by Blooming Hilton, the sunflowers were sold by pupils to raise money for Ukrainian children in the UK.

Children in Hilton Spencer Academy’s Garden Gang decided to sell the sunflowers they’d grown from donated seeds to raise money in support of Ukrainian children who have fled to the UK.

The sunflower seeds were donated by community group Blooming Hilton. As the children undertook the challenge of finding out how to sow them, ideal conditions for growth and some interesting facts, one of the children discovered that they are the national flower of Ukraine, serving recently to promote peace, solidarity, and resilience. Inspired by one of their peers, who is from Ukraine, the pupils decided to sell the sunflowers and donate the proceeds to a charity that supports their friend and others like him. This endeavour is part of the Level 5 RHS Gardening for Schools Award, which they are in the process of completing.

In total, the children raised £140; half of this will be put toward future Garden Gang projects, and the other half was given to the Ukraine Centre in Derby. The money will go toward translated textbooks for Ukrainian children in the Derby area to continue their education.

Hilton Spencer Academy’s Garden Gang is a Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) intervention operated through the Forest School, focusing on sensory, physical and social skills using crafts, outdoor learning, cooking and Forest School approaches. It serves as an opportunity to support children in developing self-confidence, conflict resolution skills, motivation and friendships in a safe and nurturing environment.

In a Facebook post thanking the Garden Gang, Mrs Finiw of the Ukraine Centre wrote, “A lovely gesture from the children at Hilton Spencer Academy to make a donation towards our Ukrainian Centre here in Derby. . . As we say in Ukrainian, ‘Молодці!’ You’re the best!”

Chairman of Blooming Hilton Rick Cohen said, “Blooming Hilton was pleased to be able to donate sunflower seeds to Hilton Spencer Academy, supporting the initiative for them to raise money for the Ukraine Centre and the school. BH recognises the hard work the school does in educating and promoting health through the Garden Gang; we think this is an excellent way to engage and promote wellbeing.”