The Guernsey Health Improvement Commission works across the Bailiwick to help create the conditions for healthy eating. Part of their work has taken them to St Sampson’s High School, where the Eat Well team have worked with the student body to improve the food environment.
With support from staff at the school including Sophia Ingram-Dodd and Jess Ingles, the school’s council voiced that they wanted to improve their eating environment. This included discussions around updating the canteen to make it a more enjoyable space to eat and socialise.
Following this, the whole school voted for various themes and street art came out on top. Students then used their creative talents to create images which were then taken to local artist, India Silvester. They named this the ‘Glow Up’ project and imprinted brick themed stamps on the walls, added panelling around the hatch and painted a column in the refectory with rainbow colours. Around 150 students took part in the project overall.
Alex Kosmas, Eat Well Lead at the Health Improvement Commission, explains how making the canteen more lively will make eating there more appealing: “Our partnership with all the States Secondary Schools involves working with students to ensure access to healthy and tasty food. We have previously trialled different meal ideas with the students, and this project goes further, to enhance their environment.
“We are pleased to have worked with them to transform both the environment and the menu. The students expressed that the dining space needed improving to make them feel more welcome and valued. We know that having pleasant surroundings makes eating together more appealing. Well done to all involved – it looks fantastic!”
Sophia Ingram-Dodd, Assistant Head for Personal Development said: “Each term there is a survey on wellbeing. We asked about the canteen and are pleased that 74% now prefer it. We are keen to support our students to feel part of a community and food is such an important part of that. Thank you to Alex at the Health Improvement Commission for helping us with this positive change at St Sampson’s.”
Student council members, Alana Hockey (Year 8) and Emma Battle (Year 11) said that it was an enjoyable project to be involved with. Emma explained: “The canteen was plain and boring, so we had a meeting to talk about how to improve it. We decided on three themes and Street Art won.”
Alana added: “It was great to come back to school and see the artwork, it makes the canteen brighter and more welcoming.”
Artist, India Silvester turned the student’s work into illustrations which were then bought to life by Dowding Signs as vinyl to put on the windows. India said: “I was immediately drawn to this project as an ex-pupil of St Sampson’s High School. I remembered how much I used my canteen area and how important it was for me socially. I truly would’ve loved a project like this when I was there.
“The process was led by the students, who sent in their work and ideas and I then digitally manipulated and edited it into their chosen theme of street art, whilst also adding some of my own influences. I am extremely happy with the result as it transforms their space. Street art is known for making areas more inspiring with bright colours and relatable themes. It adds character to otherwise simple areas, and is popular with younger people because of this.”
Norman Piette also contributed to the project by funding the materials for the hatch decorations, adding a warmer feel to the service area. Dalen Vile, Group Marketing Coordinator said: “We are always looking for great community projects to support and get involved in, so when the ‘Glow-Up’ project came our way we just couldn’t pass it up. The students have far exceeded expectations, completely transforming their cafeteria from top to bottom.
“The area is now a much more enjoyable and welcoming place for them to socialise. I’m really glad that the students have been given this opportunity to let their creativity flow as well as leave their mark for years to come! I think there are definitely a few budding decorators and artists among them.”