The New Holland primary school's Millennium Garden Project (with a section of development beynd the boundary fence that has public use) is a good example of a local community planning a facility that at once celebrates the new millennium and secondly provides a useful facility mainly for school children.
It started in 1996 with an application to North Lincolnshire Council to use some of the land. In 1997 formal committee stages of the Council and a formal handing over of the land to the school (in November) took place. There were talks with the Parish Council and the formation of the New Holland School and Community Project Committee. This was accompanied by numerous applications to possible supporters. In 1998 funding was acquired from various sources and with other funds committed more detailed planning could take place. Children and villagers began work on designs for the panels in 1999. Tenders were sort. Anglian Water provided an excavator with driver for 3 days so that the site could be cleared of vegetation and the pond dug with many problems (bogginess, unevenness) overcome. In 2000 sculpture projects occupied the children's minds with delay caused by a wet spring but in early summer everything was back on track with a day of Millennium events planned for the whole village.
The fence (which divides the school and parish areas of the development, and goes along two sides of the new play area) has panels reflecting curriculum areas which certain school children designed between February and September 1999. Artist Pete Rogers made these panels in galvanised steel. There were workshops for itnerested villagers directed by Peter Rogers and these led to more designs between the school environmental area and the public area. The playground was laid in February 2000 but the surface needs looking at and it is smaller than planned. On one side of the playground is a space of different textures and materials which has direct curriculum useSpring 2000 Pete held workshops for interested villagers and further designs were created for more fence panels. As well as the fence Pete Rogers with Alex Hallowes and children carried out classroom work leading to three sculptures, the New Holland Totem´, Wild Thing´ and Black Dogseat´.
The high quality play equipment provides a trail for the children, which can be accessed from two positions on the playground, and the trail can be completed without stepping off. This makes it usable even when the grass is wet. This cost £4000 raised by the Parents Teachers Association over a period of two years. Being low, no safety surfacing is necessary. The Lincoln Diocesan Education Committee added £500.
Other financial assistance came from National Power (£2000), Anglian Water Partnerships (manages funds from companies using tax credits for environmemtal projects) (£10000) and Howarth Timber (£1000 and, in addition, steel, storage for steel) and Caparo, Cass and British Steel (various plates and steel bars, steel at very little cost, some smelted and rolled in plants outside North Lincolnshire). A teacher between 1942 and 1948, Mrs. Winifred Johnson, on hearing of the project in 1997, made a substantial offering. The Parish Council gave £500 and a number of the local area businesses gave assistance.
The gardens continue the curriculum intentions with mathematical elements. Shapes are linked with number and measurement added to elements of colour and smell.
The pond filled naturally over the winter months into 2000 with the hedges and trees on two sides left alone. A small capse was created on the northern bank. Everywhere is fenced for safety with a gate for access on to a pond-dipping platform. Mallard ducks and a kingfisher have visited among others.
The arena was created from an area once the rubbish tip of New Holland. It provided a natural bowl and has a function as an outdoor classroom. Then there is a quiet area within the trellises giving views across the pond and gardens. £500 came from the Diocese for this.
These marked the official opening of the School and Community Land Project
After a Treasure Hunt at 9.30am and the Official Photograph of villagers on the new land development at 11.30am taken by a camera on a high pole, Dicken Ashworth, a Coronation Street actor, officially opened the land and school play area at 2 o'clock. In the marquee were exhibitions, presentations, singing, craft displays, produce, and some information on the developments at Christ Church. The Parent-Teacher Association put on a number of games and attractions and there was a magician (who did several shows) among further attractions. These were both in the marquee and outside. The day finished from 7 pm with a family disco and barn dance. There was a traditional laid out hog roast provided by the local restaurant Cooks. The evening finished at 11pm with a short firework display.
The local small park has been renovated recently to produce a sitting area just off the main road. Christ Church hopes to develop as a community resource especially for younger people. It has a communal area at the back behind the worship area which gives all week secular use. The playing fields also will see development so that they become better used. Meanwhile the garden at the school will grow and mature and the pond develop its own natural life.