Outdoor Learning Centre

Learning and Skills programme for schools and colleges

Bring your students to our outdoor learning centre


We work with schools, colleges and other organisations to help develop young people – giving them a chance to learn hands-on, build confidence and self-esteem, and feel positive about their future.

Our programmes and activity sessions offer gardening and horticulture, nature conservation and beekeeping, woodworking and construction, cooking and crafts.

Activities are designed to help young people:

  • Learn practical skills, gain work experience, and take on leadership/ organisational roles
  • Develop competencies such as working as a team, good communication, and being willing to take on and understand responsibility
  • Build self-esteem, gain confidence, and feel pride in their achievements
  • Feel better – both physically and mentally
  • Develop friendships, form social networks and feel a part of their community.


Do you like the outdoors, want to help care for a flourishing local community garden, and aren’t afraid of getting your hands dirty?!
We offer Year 10 work experience placements!

Get in touch and become part of a fun and friendly team, and spend 2 weeks of summer in a beautiful community garden learning some priceless horticultural skills!


For further information or to book a session, please get in touch

Susannah Robirosa

ActivGardens Fundraising & Development Manager
07530 407302  –  01473 345350  –  susannah@activlives.org.uk


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 and healthy eating in schools.
Gardening is also on the National Curriculum as part of Food and Technology.

Research by the Royal Horticultural Society shows that gardening at school ‘improves academic achievement’:

  • Gardening enhance scientific understanding, numeracy, literacy and language skills
  • Builds life and employability skills
  • Helps motivation and behaviour
  • Improves health and wellbeing
  • Growing food leads to a better understanding of nutrition and an increased consumption of fresh produce.


For primary schools and younger children

You can book an activity session for your class or group – please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

For high schools, colleges and older children/ young people

We run half-termly programmes for groups of students, both at our gardens or in school grounds – to inspire young people and help move them on to the world of work.

Please get in touch to discuss your requirements.

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

Donate to ActivLives HERE

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.