Children thrilled as school gets new play equipment after three-year fundraiser
Children at a village primary school have a new adventure playground, thanks to a huge community effort.
The Friends of St John the Baptist School in Ruyton XI Towns led a campaign to raised £20,000 to add to the £10,000 from the school itself for the trim trail-type play equipment.
The three-year-long fundraising campaign, with the pandemic in the middle, saw local businesses, supermarkets, the parish council and members of the local community contribute to the appeal. Parents and carers also held money-raising events.
Headteacher Julie Ball said it was an incredible achievement for a school with 90 pupils.
"The old equipment was beyond repair and needed completely replacing," she said. "There is now an all-weather surface so the children should be able to use it in all weathers."
She continued: "We have had help from so many people led by the Friends of the school.
"The children have been so excited seeing the equipment being constructed - we made them wait until the official opening ceremony on Friday before using it for the first time.
She said the equipment not only helped the pupils' physical health but also mental health and development from team building to using the equipment for different parts of the curriculum from maths to science.
Chair of Governors, Keith Lister, helped pupils to cut the ribbon to open the new pay equipment.
A spokesperson for the Friends group said: "This had been a three year long project that, despite a pandemic in the middle, has managed to raise a huge amount of money. This is mainly due to local grants, wonderful local businesses sponsoring it and a massive fund raising effort and holding events that the parents/carers have supported that have been run by the Friends of the school.
"We have reached out to local supermarket funding, the companies that our parents work at, the local parish council, the contractor building the playground, all our local businesses and some local residents who have all come together to help get this playground built.
"It means that the children of the primary school and the attached nursery now have a fantastic all weather outdoor facility that can be used all year round to help their physical and mental development. The school provides wrap around care from 8am to 5.45pm to children from two-11 so it's really important that their are facilities to get them outside and developing their physical skills and we are really proud that we have managed to provide this playground."
The appeal received a donation of £5,000 towards the playground from The Cadbury Foundation as part of parent company Mondelēz International’s ‘Your Charity Your Choice’ campaign.
Kelly Farrell, community affairs manager at Mondelēz International, said: “We are extremely proud to be able to support the charities that are important to our employees through our ‘Your Charity Your Choice’ scheme.
“The Friends of St. John the Baptist support its pupils by providing an exciting and nurturing learning environment, and we’re delighted to see that with The Cadbury Foundation’s help, they have opened a brand new adventure playground for children to enjoy.”