Leicestershire schools receive over £56,600 from Severn Trent for outdoor education areas

11th January 2024

The Severn Trent Community Fund has provided grants of over £56,600 to two Leicestershire schools who are creating outdoor education spaces.

Tudor Grange Academies Trust has received £46,716 to create an outdoor learning space which will include a teaching space, tiny forest with around 600 trees of varying native species, and a pond created from harvested rainwater.

The space will host a variety of activities, including free after school and holiday clubs; eco-therapy activities to help SEND students manage their anxiety and emotions; conservation work to help young people acquire the Duke of Edinburgh Award; and Mummy and Me outdoor playgroups.

The new centre will be open for community use 20 hours per week and daily weekdays during the holidays and it is estimated that it will benefit over 500 children and families in its first year.

The project follows consultation with over 1,300 young people from across the Eyes Monsell and Saffron areas of the city to understand the challenges they were facing.

Aiden Bannon, Principal at Tudor Grange Samworth Academy, said: “Through our consultation we found that less than 20% of young people were engaged in regular extra-curricular activities and only 16% of young people stated they engaged in regular physical exercise outside of school. A large part of this was the lack of space, as both wards are high-density urban environments where many families live in flats with no access to garden space.

“This grant will allow us to create a truly fantastic outdoor space for both the school and the wider community where people can learn about the natural environment while supporting a range of ongoing conservation projects.”

The space will also be used by Leicester City FC as a resource for its Forest Foxes programme, which connects young people and families with outdoor learning. This will include after school and holiday clubs which unlock new opportunities to engage young people outside of the school day and support local families who may find it difficult to get childcare.

A grant of £9,950 has been made to Highcliffe Primary School for the creation of a wildlife area and garden for outdoor learning.

The school will use the funding to transform an unused embankment within the school grounds through wildflower planting and creation of rock pools and a range of nature stations to create a sanctuary and shelter for wildlife. The area will be used to teach pupils about the nature in the local area and preserve local habitats, maintained by the school’s Forest School Practitioner who works will children with wellbeing difficulties or Special Educational Needs.

Simone Stewart, Head of School at Highcliffe Primary School, said: “We want to introduce a wide variety of biodiversity to this area, impacting positively on the environment while creating a sensory, dynamic and immersive area for all of our children. This area will be sustainable and will help to reduce he carbon footprint, and provides a great new platform for events like our Grandparent Gardening Days which help to bring generations together and providing social opportunities for older members of society."

Sue Heyes, Severn Community Fund Officer, said: “It’s always fantastic to be able to provide funding to groups like these that are working so hard to improve the lives of other people in their communities. 

“The work that both Killamarsh Active and Kenning Park Community Forest School are undertaking, particularly in supporting and improving peoples' mental health, is wonderful and we're genuinely really pleased to be able to support their work through the Community Fund.”

For more information on the Severn Trent Community Fund and to find out how to make an application visit stwater.co.uk/communityfund.