Sheringham Community Small holding Project – The Patch, was born from students at Sheringham High School wanting more information about where their food came from, healthy living and dietary choices and animal welfare.
Their teacher at the time Mrs Anita Southgate, was aware that even in rural areas young people were unaware of where their food came from, what food was produced locally, how it was produced and other issues such as carbon footprint in food production. Mrs Southgate realised that there was tremendous support within the community and, together with local schools, there would be enough support for a project bid that had food production at its heart. In times past, Sheringham High School used a piece of land that accommodated a Rural Studies Department. It was felt that this would be used as a foundation for a new community allotment project. Following a successful bid to the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food Programme and generous donations locally, the Sheringham Community Smallholding Project was made a reality. Formal partners for the project include Sheringham High School,Sheringham Woodfields School, Sheringham Primary School and many local business contributors.
The Patch has won many awards including best in show at the Royal Norfolk Show. It has indoor and outdoor classrooms, a sensory garden, terraced growing areas, polytunnels and areas for cultivation of small projects and experiments such as bug hotels. It has a healthy flock of laying hens and a massive variety of vegetable and soft fruit.
Taking pride of place in front of Sheringham High's main entrance is our 15m wind turbine, capable of generating more than 9,900kwh per year, based on an average wind speed of 5.4m per second, (a light breeze) and providing about 3% of our electricity.
Setting the blades in motion for the first time, in March 2009, North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb congratulated the Eco Team - a group of 40 students responsible for making their school more environmentally friendly. He said: 'I'm really impressed by you for achieving this - it's wonderful.'
The project, co-ordinated by the school's head of support staff Victoria Cornell, has cost about £25,000 and has been funded by grants from lottery groups Awards for All, Community Sustainable Energy Programme, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's Low Carbon Buildings Programme.
Each month the turbine generated outputs are displayed around the school.
The School has also more recently fitted solar panels to most of the roof space, erected floodlights for the full sized astroturf and is about to have the official switch-on of the 4G phone mast which will transform Sheringham town’s connectivity.
Sheringham High is always looking to put something back into its community!