Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 17:37 UK

Garden help for military children in Edinburgh

A garden designed to help the children of military personnel cope with their parents being at war has opened in Edinburgh.

The Room to Grow garden, which took three years to plan and plant, is attached to Colinton Primary School.

The school sits near both Dreghorn ad Redford Barracks, and many of its pupils have parents in the military.

The garden is designed to provide the children with a space where they can be alone in peace and tranquillity.

The opening ceremony was attended by Mairi Rowan, whose sons Alan, nine, and Kyle, eight, attend the school.

Mrs Rowan said: "My husband is in the army. He's not on tour at the moment but he's been away to Iraq over the years and I know how hard it is as a wife and as a mother.

It was lovely how much the community pulled together
Leanne Sharpe
Colinton Primary School

"You realise how important this kind of thing is for the kids. This place will be a great place for the children to go and sit by themselves if they need to.

"Sometimes they just need a place to go and be alone, and that's exactly what this gives them."

Kyle, who helped a team from BBC Scotland's Beechgrove Garden with some of the planting last September, said he was looking forward to playing in the garden.

He said: "I helped out a bit. We planted a few plants and did some digging as well.

"I'm looking forward to running around the place and talking to my friends in the garden and stuff.

"I am also looking forward to seeing the trees starting to grow as well."

The design includes a stage, mini-classroom, reflection circle and memorial graveyard.

'Passion and commitment'

Deputy head teacher Leanne Sharpe said: "The children played a big part in planning the garden. For example, they told us they wanted a stage and so that was put in.

"It wasn't until the Beechgrove Garden team came along that we really got started. It would have been done anyway, but they gave us the kick-start that we needed.

"People gave us their time and donated things we needed all the way along. It was lovely how much the community pulled together."

An Army spokesman said: "The military community in Colinton are extremely grateful for the support of the Beechgrove Garden team.

"This garden was completed just one week before the 3rd Battalion The Rifles and B Company 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland set off for a six-mnth tour in Helmand and it was a great way to bring the community together before they left."

Gwyneth Hardy, producer and director of the gardening programme said: "The community were inspirational right from our very first meeting with them.

"They showed such passion and commitment to what turned out to be a very ambitious but delightful garden project."



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