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Warwick People – Research Support Services' Green Challenge

Staff from Research Support Services (RSS) will be donning their gardening gear and wellies this Friday when they head to a local primary school to give its sensory garden a makeover.

View photos from the day and before and after photos here.

17 members of RSS will spend the day transforming the centenary garden at St Mary Immaculate school in Warwick into a better environment for the children to learn about trees, shrubs, plants and herbs.

Originally opened in January 2006, the garden has now become overgrown and untidy and no longer looks like the award winning Centenary Garden that was originally created.

Weeds and grass are currently peeking through the bark which needs to be removed, and some trees which were originally planted in pots need to be planted properly to avoid being pot-bound. A number of planters have also become water logged and need to be dug out and drained so that they can be replanted with shrubs by the children and the school’s Gardening Club.

Two teams will work on the makeover – ‘The Grunters’ – responsible for the ‘Grunt Work’ – the digging out and replanting of trees and ‘The Weedies – responsible for weeding the surrounding area and planting smaller shrubs and bulbs.

Anne O’Rourke, a member of staff in the Personnel Department and governor at the school said: "We are thrilled that RSS have taken up the challenge. A lot of money and hard work went into creating the garden last year but lack of resources and volunteers has meant that some of our plans for it have been put on hold.

"The Gardening Club did a lot of work in the garden last year and I know they are keen to get back in there. Hopefully the volunteers will be able to get it back into shape so that the children can get in and do some planting of their own."

The RSS team are relying on donations of plants from the University Estates Department to add to the existing garden. Estates are also providing the gardening tools and accessories.

Katie Hemmings, who has organised the challenge, hopes that the team will be able to return to the school in the Summer and plant some spring bulbs which will keep the garden looking beautiful all year round.

This will be the third Team Challenge to be carried out by University staff at local schools since June 2006. The Senior Officers provided benches in the playground of Charter Primary School, Canley in June last year and the HR team re-decorated the reception area at Hereward College in Tile Hill in December.

If you would like to find out more about staff volunteering opportunities, visit the Warwick Volunteers staff pages at

Senior Officers

HR Team Challenge