Outdoor area praised  by the PM on a project well done

Outdoor area praised by the PM on a project well done

24th July 2014


MILITARY top brass was on hand to perform the honours as a North-East school paraded its new outdoor area and was recognised by the Prime Minister on a project well done.

Catterick Garrison commander Col Stephen Padgett cut the official ribbon before inspecting the new sensory garden, outdoor play area, bandstand and trim track financed in part by an MoD grant.

Later the same day Sarah Roberts, finance director at West Park Academy, Darlington, travelled to Number 10 for a reception held by the Prime Minister David Cameron to celebrate the work being done to support the Armed Forces Community.

West Park Academy secured almost £40,000 and pledged to raise another £10,000 to transform its school grounds into a place of play and reflection for the community.

An adventure playground, a sensory garden for reflection, an outdoor learning space providing shelter and a storage container for local groups was included in the scheme after a successful bid to the Ministry of Defence’s Community Covenant Grant.

The new facilities will become the centre of a host of community activities in an area of Darlington that is home to a number of service families.

At an opening celebration Col Padgett told pupils, staff and families: “This is a great example of a community’s tenacity because securing the grant and raising extra funds yourself is not an easy task. It has been a brilliant effort for which the MoD commends you.”

Mrs Roberts added: “We are also thrilled that the Prime Minister recognised the hard work and dedication that was necessary to achieve this bid.”

Chairman of directors Barrie Armstrong said: “This has been a special day for us and one that puts us very much at the heart of the community. These new facilities mean that we can make an even greater contribution.”

Pupils have been central to developing ideas for the grounds along with parents, directors, staff, local community and the Army Welfare Service.

The new facility will available for use by children who live in the local area, members of the community and local groups and local schools who don’t have outdoor facilities.

Thirsk-based specialists Image Playgrounds were commissioned to carry out the project and the storage container has been decorated with designs by the academy’s art club.

The opening ceremony also featured performances by nursery children, reception class, a project outline by the school council, singing by Year 3 and refreshments.

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