Students Launch Japan-Inspired Community Garden
College students have made use of their skills to transform a Folkestone park into a unique destination for the local community.
Visitors to the town’s Kingsnorth Gardens can now enjoy Japanese Torii gates thanks to the hard work of EKC Folkestone College students. The iconic red structures often feature in pictures of the Asian country, with students drawing inspiration to create a design for the park that incorporated them.
Started in 2019, the project – being completed in partnership with Folkestone & Hythe District Council – will eventually see the Torii gates joined by a moon gate and a central feature with a tree acting as a sundial. The 12 stones forming the rest of the sundial represent each area of the public sector, including the council, the NHS and EKC Folkestone College, seeking to celebrate the impact they have on society.
Based on a concept and design by students Mark Broome, Ciaran Ellen and Tammy Roberts, the new bright crimson gates replace a decaying wooden structure that required dismantling.
The Kingsnorth Gardens project has seen collaboration across all of the College’s Built Environment courses, offering students the chance to engage with a real life brief and see their handiwork in a public space, whilst also seeking to benefit the local community with an exciting new project.
Carpentry and Joinery students have been using the skills they are developing to make the gates in the College during the past few months, with Painting and Decorating learners adding the vibrant colour. Meanwhile, a new path in the park is currently being installed by Bricklaying students.
One student working on the gates, Bailey Beazley, said: “The gates have come a long way. We started out with the raw wood, and have now cut them down to size, shaped them and joined them, as well as painting and installing them.
“They look fantastic and it’s a brilliant thing to be part of. It’s taught me so much and really inspired me and I’m so pleased to have played a part in a really community focused project.
“When I have kids in the future, I can say I helped do this – it’s really brightened up Kingsnorth Gardens and I’m proud to say I had a hand in it.”
Donna Smith, EKC Folkestone College’s Principal, said: “Projects such as these are excellent opportunities for our students to enhance their skills in a wide variety of areas, as well getting them involved within projects in their local community. It requires them to put into practice the skills they have learnt while they study with us at College, and the quality of the work they have produced is truly outstanding.
“We are really looking forward to seeing the area finished and we hope visitors of Kingsnorth Gardens can enjoy it for many years to come.”
Cllr Jeremy Speakman, Cabinet Member for Assets and Operations, said: “The students have done incredible work to not only dream up this excellent design but also bring it to life.
“The structures, as you can see, are a fantastic addition to what is already one of Folkestone’s favourite green spaces and I’m sure it will be a popular spot for our residents this summer and beyond.
“Once our ornamental planting is complete, we expect it to harmonise with the overall look and feel of the project. We’re always delighted to work with partners for the benefit of our community.”