The Education Futures Trust has managed the Firs site in Elphinstone Road for years. The site’s previous function was as a football pitch, including concrete terracing and spectator stands. There was a block for changing rooms and showers, this is now the Secret Garden, which has been brimming with spring flowers these last few months. The offices for the Trust are in what used to be a bar and club house.
At first look the Firs is an example of brutal architecture, concrete and steel are its main structural fabric. The work to improve and maintain the site have been considerable. In the spirit of protecting the environment the Trust firmly believe in recycling everything possible; woodchip for paths, rubble for hardcore, donated timber for use in outdoor learning classes, repairs to fences and making shelving. Nothing is thrown away if there could be a use for it.
As the educational activities expand and the Firs have more visitors, the Trust have added to its facilities, low carbon units have been installed for teaching and meetings, two self-composting toilets, and an attractive energy efficient classroom is at the final stage of completion and will be available for use by Plumpton College to deliver lessons in horticulture for local students.
Now that most of the building work is done and the site begins to settle we will be focusing on enhancing the appearance and making it more welcoming to local people, it already has an appeal for its openness, space and sea views but with some editing and planting we can increase biodiversity and interest.