The hard work of green-fingered staff and youngsters at Lidget Green Middle School has had many beneficial effects.

Children have been lending a hand with members of Legrams Lane Allotments' Association.

And as well as improving the appearance of the area by tidying up overgrown plots, the scheme has helped to build bridges between young people and allotment-holders.

Deputy head teacher Stuart Firth said the idea came about as the result of a Lidget Green neighbourhood forum meeting.

"There was quite a lot of concern expressed by some of the allotment-holders about vandalism and problems being caused primarily by young people," he said.

Allotments had been damaged, sheds had been set on fire and greenhouses attacked.

"I suggested one way of approaching this was for schoolchildren to get involved in the allotments so they could see some of the benefits that they produce for the community.

The project kicked off last October when Mr Firth and a group of children went along to the allotments as their contribution to the school's community week.

"We went down and tidied up two plots that were overgrown. The idea at first was maybe that if we tidied them up someone might be encouraged to take them on."

Mr Firth had even hoped that his school might be able take responsibility for one of the allotments. But that idea had to be scrapped because it is due to close under Bradford Council's education shake-up.

"Certainly the children who helped out were very keen and if we had a long-term future my aim would have been to get some parental involvement," said Mr Firth.

He said the exercise had proved fruitful so far for both pupils and allotment-holders.

"We got a very nice card and box of chocolates from the allotment-holders. They were really impressed with the job they had done," said Mr Firth.

But it is difficult to judge yet whether there has actually been a noticeable decline in vandalism.

"However at a later neighbourhood forum meeting many people did say how tidy it was and that it was very much appreciated," said Mr Firth.

Readers are being invited to submit their nominations for our Best School Community Project award, using the application form printed below.

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