Westgate's peace garden aims to spread a message of hope - Warwick Courier 19.02.2021
Peace gardens aim to spread a message of hope through Warwickshire
PEACE gardens could soon be cropping up across Warwickshire. A campaign from The Heart of England Rotary Clubs to promote peace and wellbeing among young people, is being rolled out across the county.
So far, the project has seen pupils clear a peace garden area on school grounds at Westgate Primary in Warwick, after which they were awarded a ‘peace pole’ – an internationally-recognised symbol for peace – by the club.
Now other schools are being invited to submit their design for a peace garden and the winning entry will be presented with their own bespoke peace pole, donated by the Heart of England Rotary Clubs.
The competition forms part of a drive to tackle the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, discrimination, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources.
The club is also working with Newburgh and Aylesford Primary Schools as well as Warwick Town Council which plans to introduce a wooden peace pole into the town’s Pageant Gardens, incorporating languages from its twin towns in France, Germany and Italy.
With an estimated 250,000 across the globe, peace poles represent a celebration of amity and collaboration between different countries too.
Warwick Rotarian Margaret Morley said: “As an organisation Rotary is totally committed to working with schools in any way they feel necessary to support their Peace Education Curriculum and encourage a culture of peace, which is so important in today’s society.
“Promoting peace is a Rotary area of focus as well as part of the school curriculum. It’s not just about planting a peace pole it’s about working with schools to encourage young people to think about what peace means.
“Peace poles are so important as they take children out of the classroom, they provide areas of tranquillity and reflection, so important with mental health issues. They also encourage an interest in the environment with planting and growing.
“The peace pole is a constant reminder that we are working together to create a caring and compassionate society.
“Children love them, ceremonies can be planned around them to encourage a culture of peace within the school.”
Headteacher at Westgate Primary School, Matthew Watson said the project demonstrated the wealth of community support available to local children.
He added: “The raised bed that now houses the peace pole was unearthed and now provides a slightly separated area for contemplation. This will eventually have peaceful planting around it and will hopefully provide a focus for Remembrance Day and other fixed points in the year when the curriculum provides links to peace.
“The focus on mental wellbeing and finding solutions where they could be alone and peaceful has been reassuring in these difficult times.”
Contact Margaret Morley on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.