Outdoor Learning Centre

We lead one-off and regular activity days for Schools and Colleges

Bring your students to our outdoor learning centre


The People’s Community Garden and Chantry Walled Gardens are exciting outdoor learning centres which are available to schools. We have a team of professional staff, with horticultural and teaching qualifications, who can organise and lead school visits on a one-off or regular basis. Visiting the gardens is an ideal way to complement your work towards Healthy Schools or Eco Schools status, and visits can be arranged to enhance curriculum learning in maths, business and enterprise, science, arts and humanities. 


We also offer Year 10 work experience placements and alternative curriculum programmes for children who find it difficult to learn in the classroom. 


ActivGardens are open to schools, by appointment, throughout the week,  9.30am until 4pm.  


Alternatively, we can visit your school to offer help and advice on developing your school grounds as an inspiring learning resource, or deliver an activity day or series of days to bring a Curriculum topic alive. School gardening supports many government priorities, including sustainability, encouraging children to exercise regularly, food in schools and healthy eating. From September 2014, gardening will be on the National Curriculum as part of Food and Technology. Research by the Royal Horticultural Society shows that gardening at school: Improves academic achievement, for example gardening enhance scientific understanding, numeracy, literacy and language skills;  builds life and employability skills, for example food-growing improves financial literacy, builds enterprise and communication skills and helps motivation and behaviour; and improves health and wellbeing, for example, growing fruit and vegetables leads to a better understanding of food and nutrition and an increased consumption of fresh produce.


School visits are charged at a minimum of £2 per child for groups of 30+ visiting for a maximum of two hours. For smaller groups, or longer visits, charges should be agreed in advance with a member of the administration team.

What do we teach?


The People’s Community Garden is a community space where people can garden together. Situated on Maidenhall Allotments, Ipswich, Suffolk, it includes traditional vegetable-growing areas, a heritage orchard, a sensory garden, a wildlife area and a herb spiral. It also has two poly-tunnels, raised beds, willow structures and a pond. Students are taught about how to maintain these areas and about how to grow plants and keep them healthy. 


At the other end of the site, we run a community apiary, and maintain a nectar-rich wildflower meadow for the bees. ActivHives Community Apiary and Bee Garden This is a project to help keep bees buzzing and train up a new generation of bee keepers. Children can watch the hives being opened from the safety of the bee hide, and explore or Bee Garden, learning about nectar-rich plants, wildlife habitats, and the importance of conserving our environment. 


Chantry Walled Garden is situated in a historic walled garden in Chantry Park, Ipswich. Here, we run a plant nursery in the extensive glasshouses, growing for Ipswich Borough Council and other markets and independent garden centres. There are also flower borders and vegetable-growing areas to plant and maintain. Our base here is Nursery Cottage, which has a mess room and small kitchen, and upstairs rooms for IT and craft activities. The adjacent workshop has facilities for woodwork and basic construction. The wider park has a rich history to explore and opportunities to work alongside wildlife rangers. 

Past Projects


This project focused on sustainable food growing, using recycled and upcycled experimental approaches such as rain water capture, plastic bottle greenhouse construction, ‘lasagne’ growing methods, vertical space and roof garden growing.  

Games Garden: London 2012

This project brought communities together in celebration of the Olympics through the medium allotments and gardening. More than 300 school children took part in building the Olympic rings, planting crops representing countries around the world, and creating art work to enhance the garden. We created a geodesic ‘Vegetable Dreaming’ dome, representing Australasia, planted Asian vegetable boxes, and made gold medals with yellow and orange flowers for the European ring. 

AFRICAN Garden: London 2011

This project saw us transform an entire allotment plot into a colourful garden with African features and themes.  The project, in partnership with Chantry High School, which has links with a school in Uganda through a British Council programme, engaged low-ability children in building “keyhole gardens”, planting sack gardens, and creating a gourd trellis from recycled bicycle wheels, while they learnt about the importance of drought-resistant crops, composting, recycling and saving water.

The Peoples Community Garden

Chantry Walled Garden

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ActivLives is a local charity, which relies on grants, trusts, donations, fundraising activities, sponsorship & commissions to enable us to provide & develop our services across Ipswich & Suffolk.