15 Dec DPD Eco Fund supports Bradford College with Seed to Plate initiative

Throughout 2020, the DPD Eco Fund backed projects, initiatives and youth groups up and down the country. A total of £200,000 raised through DPD’s circular economy models ensured that a steady stream of funding went out to worthy causes.

A great example of the kinds of environmentally forward initiatives funded by the Eco Fund can be seen with Bradford College’s Seed to Plate project.

The kinds of projects DPD Eco Fund supports and funds

Bradford College has been around for 185 years and is one of the biggest colleges in the UK. As well as courses for 16-to-18-year olds, Bradford College offers a range of full and part time courses for children between 14 and 16 too.

And for this age group, the college runs various vocational projects, such as Seed to plate. Tracy Wilkinson is the 14-16 manager at Bradford College. She describes Seed to Plate: “This project is about getting young people to learn more outdoors. They will benefit from the artistic, creative, horticultural and practical skills they will develop.”

DPD Eco Fund’s donation of just under £1000 will go towards providing ‘grow your own’ kits. These will give the students between 14 and 16 a fully led project experience to understand the science behind plant growth. They will also be able to use the vegetables they grow in learning how to make healthy, nutritious food at home. The students will also grow flowers and other plants, which will be used to teach them about the environment and horticulture.

Engaging students through practical outdoor skills

The idea of the project is to engage the students across a wide variety of important areas that can be neglected. These include sciences, arts and life skills. It will form part of their projects for GCSE science and supports their development across Personal, Citizenship, Health Education and Social.

Through the project, the college hopes to encourage the social responsibility of the idea of using your own garden to produce food to encourage healthy lifestyles. Seed to Plate is just one of a raft of outdoor learning projects currently under development at Bradford College.

There is a specially designed outdoor classroom space at the Trinity Green campus, where students can learn directly about horticulture, science and nature. A growing raft of research supports the idea that outdoor learning is key to support and encourage behaviour management.

According to Tracy: “Some of our students may have had some bad experiences from their earlier education. Being outdoors can be a technique for managing behaviour while they’re still learning these new skills.”

Outdoor learning is also good for helping students deal with anxiety in the classroom, something that gets in the way of their potential.

Supporting positive projects during COVID-19

COVID-19 has, of course, completely disrupted education for millions of children all around the country. Being outside is a safer option, allowing the children to have something to look forward to rather than only learning from home. Access to even outdoor learning is carefully monitored by Bradford College in accordance with Government guidelines.

Before the current third wave of the pandemic with the new variants, Seed to Plate was proving its worth as a positive outdoor project. The college also has plans to include its construction curriculum by tasking students to build planters for the produce grown by this group of students.

It’s hoped that it will form a long-term part of the curriculum at Bradford College. Tracy worked with the Projects Team at the college on the application for support from the DPD Eco Fund.

In 2021, the Eco Fund will continue to support all kinds of environmentally friendly and green projects. Many of these are connected with colleges, schools and projects run for and by young people. However, DPD also supports small businesses and start ups that have are working on specific projects connected with improving the environment in some way.

The DPD Eco Fund is fully self-sustaining as it derives its funds from internal projects. For example, all the shrink wrap used during the operational process is gathered and repurposed. This is then sold and then the money goes directly into the Eco Fund.