Social Innovators at Greasbrough Primary School, UK
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Social Innovators at Greasbrough Primary School, UK

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Children at Greasbrough Primary School, UK have been improving their local park as part of their NEMESIS Project with the support of a range of social innovators.

Social innovators have play a huge role in our project. Our children began their journey with a member of the local council as their social innovator. At our first co-development meeting with Sarah, our social innovator, the children and their parents could openly discuss the issues in their local community and the challenges facing the local council in tackling these. This helped the children come up with lots of project ideas which would support their area. At this point, the children decided that they wanted to improve their local park. The parents and Sarah then supported the children in streamlining their project so that what they wanted to do became more manageable.

Once the children had come up with actions to improve their park, they could then get in touch with more innovators who could help their project. To begin with, the children got in touch with a local community group the ‘Friends of Greasbrough Park’ who supported them in identifying what they needed to address first. The children then decided that they needed to start by tackling the litter in their local park. As a result we got in touch with their local council and ‘Love Where You Live’ to try and acquire the equipment they needed to tackle this problem. This then led us to meeting Wayne Munroe-Smith, a local man who worked as part of RMBC’s Love Where You Live. Not only did Wayne agree to supply the equipment we needed, but he also became a great support in our project, attending at every litter pick, organsing for rubbish to be collected and discussing where the rubbish the children collected was going. He also underlined the importance of recycling and how long litter took to degrade. The most important thing Wayne gave though was time, answering children’s questions, as well as being someone from the local council they could ask advice from and look up to.

From here, the children then decided they wanted their park to be a nicer place to spend their time in, adding plants to improve how the park looked. This then meant contacting more social innovators. This began with a local sports ground company who agreed to spend an afternoon teaching the children how to plant flowers in the garden and how to remove weeds. This meant the children could then complete this part of their project without support. We then went back to the classroom and planned out three flower areas. The children voted on having a wildlife garden, an evergreen garden and a herb garden which the community can use. The children also decided that they wanted to help sew a wildflower garden in their park, at which point children engaged park rangers from the local council to support this.

Social innovators have and continue to play a key role in our project. They have not only supplied equipment which could have cost our school hundreds of pounds but have shared knowledge with the children that I couldn’t have. I truly believe that the success of this project lies with the breadth of social innovators we have engaged and the knowledge they have brought with them. I hope this continues as our project develops.