Thousands of children are set to benefit from state of the art play equipment in their school playground, thanks to a financial boost of £4363.25 from the RNRMC.
Playground equipment at Widewell Primary School in Plymouth had fallen into such a state of disrepair that it was unsafe for the children to play on.
The school budget didn’t allow for it to be renewed and with fundraising efforts put on ice over the pandemic, the Widewell Parents and Friends Association felt the mission to raise enough money was insurmountable.
Chair of the PFA, Lisa Clark, explained: “Our school catchment area takes in the local ‘married patch’ and so our school roll consistently runs with just over 30% Naval children.
“Pre-pandemic we’d had quotes to renew the play equipment, which were coming in at around £5500. With less than 200 families in the school community we knew it would take us years to raise the money.
“We thought it a long shot when we applied to the RNRMC for help. We’re so thankful that they could see our vision and recognised the value of the play equipment, especially in the wake of the pandemic when children have been so deprived of having fun with their friends.”
The school hit a further snag when they received updated quotes, which had shot up to nearer £9000.
Lisa explained: “We then approached the Children’s Naval Society who were happy to top us up and we are now also planning a beautiful sensory garden in the KS2 playground.”
The newly designed playground runs with the naval theme and is constructed as a ship named HMS Widewell. It features a slide, climbing wall, observation platform and obstacle course - fuelling future matelot’s fitness and imaginations.
Lisa continued: “It is a joy to see the children enjoying their playground as they should. It seems much easier to get the children out of the house in the morning, so that they have time for a quick play before class starts. And in the afternoon, it’s a struggle to get them to leave!”
Victoria Broughton, head teacher of Widewell Primary, added: “Our children at Widewell Primary School deserve the best learning environment and opportunities. However our previous play equipment was condemned because it was dangerous, with rotting wood and parts missing.
“We could not afford to get it removed so instead it was contained with barrier tape which made our playground an uninviting and inhospitable place to be. At a cost of almost £9000, our already stretched school budget could unfortunately not afford to replace the equipment.
“As a result of receiving this funding we have been able to install high quality play equipment for our children which will benefit our service family children and the rest of the school community for many years to come.
“The children have been delighted to be able to use the equipment during playtimes and lunchtimes and it has greatly enhanced their experience during these times.”