An ageing play area at Bowsland Green Primary School has been transformed after parents and staff raised £19,000 towards installing exciting new equipment.
The space, known as ‘the Green Area’, previously housed a wooden boat which had been in place at the school for close to 25 years.
Headteacher Michelle Engley and the Friends of Bowsland Green support group set themselves an ambitious target to get the space transformed. Thanks to the support of families, fundraising events raised a massive £9,000 towards the project. The project fund was further boosted through Mrs Engley successfully applying for a £10,000 National Lottery Grant.
The Young Leadership Team (seen in the photo), were part of the design process, gathering views from their classmates about the type of equipment they would like to see and the reasons why.
The new facility was designed and built by local play equipment specialists Pentagon Play. Becky Hazell from the company worked closely with the school at every stage to make sure the space was being used in an optimal way.
Mrs Engley explained that a big focus of the project was to promote purposeful talk through play:
“We are fortunate to have a diverse school community and many children join the school with English as an additional language. Play is a universal language; it has been a pleasure to see new friendships being formed as the children engage in play together.”
Noting that physical play is important in the fight against childhood obesity, Mrs Engley shared that the new equipment features pieces that encourage the children to develop their upper body and core strength.
The children and staff were delighted when Bradley Stoke mayor Tom Aditya joined them to cut the ribbon and officially open the new play equipment. Despite the stormy conditions, all the children made it outside to celebrate. Cllr Aditya then spent time visiting each classroom, talking to the pupils and finding out more about their views of the school and its facilities.
Mrs Engley, the Friends of Bowsland Green and the children have already started work on their next project – transforming a corner of the playground into a sensory garden. The fence is almost up and Mrs Engley says the children have been thinking carefully about the things they would like to be included.
“Our sustainability squad spoke with our caretaker, Mr Irwin, and he has transformed the wood from the old boat into planter boxes which will be used in the new space. Alongside this, fundraising has begun to add an imagination station to the new play area, which it is hoped to have in place before the summer break.”
Mrs Engley concluded:
“The school is 25 years old this year and we have some excellent fundraising plans in place to celebrate!”
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 23). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.
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