Life Needed In Garden

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Helen Dooley, director of The Life Centre tells NewsFour why she wants to bring life back into their isolated garden.

The Life Centre on Pearse Square is an alternative education centre for 12-16 year olds who have been excluded from or dropped out of mainstream schools. The purpose of the centre is to provide secondary school education but in a home like atmosphere.

When NewsFour visited, the fire was lit and the smell of coddle was running throughout the house as one of the students was preparing the meal with a teacher.

Founded 17 years ago, The Life Centre, receives limited funding from the Department of Education and Skills and relies heavily on volunteer staff. It provides small group and individual tuition in secondary curriculum subjects as well as personal development, life skills and an outreach service for past-pupils.

The overall ambiance of the centre allows these teens to feel the security that they might need to develop their knowledge. With this in mind, they are hoping to create a garden to allow the students to engage in the process, giving them an opportunity to learn a lifelong lesson. Due to limited funding Helen and outreach officer, Paul Duffy will have to raise the money themselves for the garden.

“Having a garden would really benefit the centre,” explains Helen. “It would be a whole new learning process for the children, we’d be teaching them the basics of horticulture with an emphasis on the practical side of the work.” The centre want the children to be involved in the whole process of creating the garden allowing them to learn what seeds are, how do seeds turn into plants, how do they take care of them, the different seasonal plants, the different types of soils, how do vegetables grow and so on. Paul tells NewsFour, “the opportunity of cultivating and designing their own garden would show them that hard work does reap rewards and would provide them with a space of beauty and tranquillity that they could take pride in.”

The Life Centre’s back garden space is about 30 by 20 foot and although it looks neglected now, it has the potential of becoming something special within the next few months. With the guidance of an architect or landscape designer plans and a cost analysis can be made to clearly set out what is needed to get this project underway.
The Life Centre would like your help to get the dream garden they deserve. If you are an architect, have any expertise in gardening or would like to help in any way, please see contact details below.

By Donna Dunne