To celebrate our 25th Anniversary, Manchester Airport Community Trust Fund is encouraging local schools to participate in an eco-garden design competition. The schools whose designs are judged to have the most beneficial impact will be awarded funds of up to £25,000 from the airport’s Community Trust Fund to turn their winning designs into a reality.

The competition has now closed and winners will be announced at a special event on 6th December 2022. See our handy competition summary guide. We can only accept one application per school.

Following a fantastic Grand Final event at the Runway Visitor Park on Tuesday 6th December, we're excited to announce that the winning schools are:

1st Prize (£25,000) Cheadle Catholic Infant & Junior School

2nd Prize (£10,000) Newall Green Primary School

3rd Prize (£5,000) Brooklands Primary School

Our runners up were:

Bexton Primary School

Peover Superior Endowed Primary School

Lum Head Primary School, Gatley

For more information

A total prize value of £40,000 will be shared between 3 winning primary schools. Schools have the opportunity to win cash prizes ranging from £5,000 to £25,000 to construct their gardens.

We’re looking for eco-garden designs that incorporate clever and innovative ways to make any school space environmentally friendly and provide lasting benefit to school communities.

Thing you can consider including are:

  • A garden that can adapt to a changing climate. Children could research areas of the world that experience weather similar to the UK, what plants grow there, and look at introducing plant types that are more resilient to higher temperatures, more intense rainfall, creating shade, and help prevent flooding.

  • A garden that uses materials that are sustainably sourced.

  • How gardens might improve biodiversity and wildlife, for example using plants that attract pollinators.

  • Create or improve a forest school or outdoor learning area which can provide an immersive experience for young people and improve wellbeing.

  • Greening a small or previously urban space including creating vertical gardens.

The judging criteria – please meet at least 6 of these:

Entries will be judged against these criteria. Judges will also recognise the applications that they think have done particularly well against each of these criteria.

  1. Creative design - clever, innovative design

  2. Fun and inspiring - making protecting the environment and improving biodiversity fun and engaging

  3. Making best use of available space – designing a garden which uses whatever space you have. 

  4. Climate positive – considering what climate change means in our places, leaving a positive footprint.  This could include climate change (considering the impact of future climate change on choices of plant, water runoff and water harvesting etc) and carbon footprint (how this has influenced the design and choice of materials such as peat-free, quality long lasting materials, locally sourced)

  5. Championing biodiversity - designing with a positive impact on biodiversity.

  6. Welcoming wildlife – considering how wildlife can use your garden, and what this means.

  7. Leaving a legacy – designing a space that will benefit tomorrow’s students.

  8. Student impact – demonstrating the involvement of and educational benefit of students in designing their eco-garden and preparing the submission.

  9. Wellbeing - demonstrating that the design will have a positive impact on the wellbeing of those using the space.

  10. Community impact – delivering meaningful impact for the school, and potentially wider, community. The school community could include pupils and staff as well as their family members, local groups and clubs, and could also include those that live or work around or near the school.

Any primary school within the Manchester Airport Community Fund’s ‘area of benefit’ can take part in the competition. Please see a map of our area of benefit.

Our judging panel includes:

  • Adam Freeman, MAG Head of ESG and Environmental Strategy

  • Martin Churley, MAG Group Environment & Energy Manager

  • Joanna Jackson, Manchester Airport Education Co-ordinator

  • Cllr Taylor - Trustee for Stockport

  • Cllr Bill Fairfoull - Trustee for Tameside

  • Cllr Paul Andrews - Trustee for Manchester

  • Cllr Don Stockton - Trustee for Cheshire East

  • Cllr Sam Naylor – Trustee for Cheshire West and Chester

Our judging panel will narrow down applicants to a shortlist of 6 schools who will be invited to attend the Finals and Awards Ceremony at our Runway Visitor Park.

We have created some short films for inspiration, which include an 'introduction to our competition', more information about 'what we're looking for' as well as 'top tips for designing a garden' which includes common sense tips, information about climate change, biodiversity, and the benefits of green space to health and wellbeing.

Your North West Wildlife Year | The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.

Also try:

• Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives and other resources on their ‘Tree Tools for Schools’ free online learning hub.

RHS - Gardening in a Changing World and Gardening in a Changing Climate.

When you are ready to apply, please click on our application form.

We can only accept one application per school. You can submit your application at any time between 5th September and 28th October. You can only apply once, and we will only accept your first application.

Your written submission should be no longer than 1000 words, and can be supplemented by drawings, sketches and photographs.

We also would like to see a short video of no more than 3 minutes summarising your eco-garden proposal and the benefits it will bring, which should be presented by your school children. The school children should tell us what they’ve learned as part of the process.

Your application needs to demonstrate:

  1. How your proposed garden enriches the environment and improves biodiversity. To evaluate this, we want to see a ‘baseline audit’ of what you currently have and then a summary of how your garden could improve this.

  2. How this process has helped to teach, engage and inspire your pupils to think about the natural world, climate change, sustainability and the importance of biodiversity.

  3. That your garden could leave a lasting legacy for future generations and the wider community to enjoy.

  4. How your garden will be used on a day-to-day basis and embedded into children’s ongoing learning.

  5. Why money is needed and what it will spent on to deliver your garden

If you would like more guidance, please see our handy Application Checklist, and guide to outdoor classroom eligibility.

Please see our Terms and Conditions

Please complete the application form and forward the PDF and video to Only the information included on the PDF document and video will be considered in the judging of your submission so please ensure you address all the elements of your submission within these two uploads. Please ensure that you use your school’s name at the start of the file name of both your uploaded files.

You can contact us on if you have any questions about the competition.