A MUM who launched a gardening club for children gave something back when she organised an event to raise money for charity.

Lauren Dotor Cespedes runs Muddy Fingers - an educational and creative gardening and nature club, with the aim of developing children’s interest and curiosity in nature, through fun and practical activities.

Each week, she explores different themes around growing, nature and the seasons through various media, including singing, storytelling, craft, digging, planting, tasting and exploring, teaching children about growing food, the importance of plants and flowers and looking after the environment.

The mother-of-two received a total grant of £2,000 from Bramley Parish Council to create a garden at Clift Meadow Park, which she uses in her classes.

The 35-year-old held a fundraising event there in aid of Action for Children, based around the theme of The Very Hungry Caterpillar story book, which is celebrating its golden anniversary of 50 years in 2019.

She said: “I thought the link between the Hungry Caterpillar and Muddy Fingers works really well. I thought it would be fantastic with the link between the food and the life cycle of a caterpillar.

"Being half term, I wanted to offer an event for a good cause and something that’s a bit active.

"It’s also National Children’s Gardening Week which is another way of encouraging children to get out into their garden and grow their own vegetables.”

At the event children enjoyed a range of activities including looking at fruit under a magnifying glass, hole-punching leaves, making The Very Hungry Caterpillar hats and following a balloon trail outside while doing a caterpillar conga wiggle.

Lily Haig, community fundraiser for Action for Children, which marks its 150th anniversary this year, attended the event in Bramley and said: “It will make a difference in terms of supporting disadvantaged children.”

Lauren, who launched Muddy Fingers following a long career in global fashion buying, hopes to encourage more people to come and join in her classes.

She said: “As a mother of two boys, I’ve found that gardening, and creating outdoor spaces we can share, has been a wonderfully connecting experience.

"Playing with colour, textures, form and design, I realised that everything I’d loved about fashion was present in my own garden – my passion for horticulture grew and grew.

"Encouraged by my fellow mum-friends, I developed our small back garden and allotment pastime into classes for every child to enjoy.”

She added: “For me, I think gardening is a life-skill and the best part is eating what you grow and I find children, even those who are fussy eaters, if you encourage them to grow their own food they are more likely to eat it and it tastes so much better.

"You don’t even need a garden; you can use a windowsill or balcony.

"If you encourage children at a young age to grow their own fruit and vegetables it stays with them for life.

"It’s important to see the life cycle from seed to plant to eating.

"Seeing a plant sprout out of the ground, it’s so magical.”

Lauren said she saw a gap in the market for a children’s gardening club in the area, particularly as schools have seen cut-backs in funds for gardening.

She set up her garden in Bramley in April with the parish council funds.

For more information on Muddy Fingers, visit: muddyfingersgardenclub.co.uk.