By Alasdair Akass - May 6th, 2022 | Posted in Article, News No comments

Spring 2022 sees the team from Caritas Portsmouth launch a programme of environmental consultations with schools and parishes as part of our strategy for Caring for Creation.

We are looking at how we can improve and enhance school grounds and parish estates. Throughout March we will be consulting with pupils, staff and parents at four primary schools – St Peter’s (Bournemouth), Holy Family (Southampton) and Our Lady and St Joseph’s (Lymington) and St Francis (Ascot). We will be encouraging them to share their ideas of how together and collectively as a community through social action we can enhance the school grounds in response to Bishop Philip’s Pastoral Letter to the Diocese ‘God’s Creation’, which calls for us all to become stewards of God’s creation and to all make our contribution to address the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. Caritas will be working with pupils, teachers, and parents to create a plan for each of the four schools that will identify the opportunities that we can develop to care for creation, enrich the school campus and across the diocese.

Wildlife Pond

We will be looking at building pollinator and wildflower banks, wildlife ponds and habitats including bird boxes, and log piles, food growing areas, hedgerow and orchards, complementing the Caritas Schools Tree Campaign and also the Queens Green Canopy, a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, which invites people from across the United Kingdom to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

We will be working alongside our four participating schools until July 2022, at which time we will be reviewing what we have achieved during the initial months of engagement and planning for the next phase of project delivery to the second half of 2022.

Orchards & Hedgerow

But we are not just working with our schools but will also be consulting with several parish churches and will be launching environmental consultations with four parishes in the coming months, including Holy Family and Immaculate Conception in Southampton, Emsworth and Havant and also St Francis in Ascot.

The focus of our work with these parishes will be to work alongside the Parish Committees and existing environmental and Laudato si’ groups to enhance green infrastructure within the parish estate, building biodiversity and providing opportunities for environmental enrichment and carbon sequestration (carbon capture).

Mood board Pollinator and wildflowers garden

Many of our parishes are already doing fantastic work in this area with volunteers creating bee gardens and wildflower areas as a part of our pollinator campaign, and planting fruits trees or tending rare orchids within the parish grounds. In the coming months we will be sharing examples of how individuals and groups from our parishes are showing their commitment to Caring for Creation and will be promoting this great work through the both the Diocese and Caritas websites.

Get in touch if you have a project idea or need CARITAS support.