Abbey College Manchester Transforms Concrete Courtyard to Green Oasis

Posted: 17th January 2024

Abbey College Manchester has unveiled its new Sustainability Garden, a transformed outdoor courtyard donated by the neighbouring Unitarian Chapel.


In an initiative led by Nicky Cathery, Head of the Sustainability Committee at the city centre-based college, the otherwise redundant space was converted from an unloved piece of concrete to a thriving, eco-friendly garden. Creating a relaxing and productive area, the transformation was made possible with the help of dedicated Student Council members, Madina, Noah, Ramisha, Chidi and Sheila.


The team set to work removing debris and moss from the space, and seeds were germinated on the classroom windowsills for future planting. Ingenious students planted up the pots using bottles to assist with drainage, along with flowers and herbs, all helping to create a serene space that benefits both the college community and the environment. Insect houses to encourage insect life have also been installed.


Generous donations of ornaments and two model meerkats – Evelyn and Sienna – gifted by staff members, have given the small courtyard area between the college and the Unitarian Chapel a new lease of life.


Furthermore, Art Enrichment Students from Year 11, 12 and 13 have designed and made small pots inspired by gargoyles, which will eventually house trailing plants spilling from the mouths.


Nicky Cathery, commented: “We are so pleased with the overwhelmingly positive response to our new Sustainable Garden. What was a small, neglected space has been transformed by our passionate students, creating an inviting environment for both our college community and nature to thrive in. The garden is now not only visually stunning but, serves as an educational and beneficial space for all involved.”


Chris Randell, Principal of Abbey College Manchester, expressed his excitement about the new facility stating: “We are incredibly proud of what the students and staff members have achieved with the garden. It exemplifies our commitment to sustainably and provides a valuable educational resource for our students. I would like to thank the Unitarian Chapel who kindly donated the space.”


Abbey College Manchester, part of the Abbey DLD Group of Colleges, is a thriving independent college in the heart of Manchester city centre, with a fast-growing and vibrant community of students aged 15-19.


With a teaching philosophy based on small classes and highly personalised learning in an academically rigorous but informal setting, the college focuses on the transition from school to university, working with students individually to achieve the academic standards and social skills required by their target and world-class universities. Abbey College Manchester also expertly prepares students for challenging courses such as medicine. The flexible programmes and personalised learning, combined with a strong academic ethos, offer a unique alternative to traditional schools.


There are 220 students at the college, comprising a mix of students from the local area and other countries. The college offers A-Level, GCSE, Combined Studies and International Foundation Programmes.


For more information on Abbey College visit, or call 0161 817 2700.

Categories: Abbey College Manchester