New nature trail at primary school thanks to firm's donation

Pupils and staff at a Dudley school can now enjoy nature, relax and keep fit, thanks to a nature trail and sensory garden created by 70 volunteers which was part-funded by a wealth management company.

Andy Marks,Jo Harrison and Steve Oliver from St James's Place
Andy Marks,Jo Harrison and Steve Oliver from St James's Place

St James's Place wealth management company stepped in to help with funding and volunteer workers after hearing that staff at Kates Hill Primary School planned to create a special garden area.

The company donated £8,000, and an investor has added a further £2,000 towards the project, which has seen £15,000 set aside from the school funds, parent contributions and money from fundraising.

A two-day construction project saw the garden, nature trail and trim track created by 70 volunteers who were overseen by a team from Splash Community Projects.

Shelley Ritson, Jan Head and Sophie Cooke from St James's Place

Pupils, parents and staff watched as a ribbon was cut as part of an official opening ceremony.

Kevin Orchard, 58, the Year 6 teacher and science lead at the school, said: "The whole area is almost completed.

"Many of our children have suffered both from mental health issues and fitness levels because of the pandemic.

"We wanted to give them the opportunities outdoors to both connect with nature through the nature trail, to relax in the sensory garden to help with their mental health and to encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle through the trim trail.

"About 150 parents and children from the 470 pupils at the school stayed after school to watch the official opening ceremony."

Jo Harrison, the 45-year-old head of operations for the central area for St James's Place, said: "When the work is finally finished the total amount donated will be in the region of about £11,000.

"We also provided the volunteers, some of whom were employees, partners and practice support staff.

"They have been digging, building decking and frames and planting out the garden area.

"We are a company that likes to work with the local community and want to improve people's lives and give better futures.

"I visited the school and we came up with this project and have also given financial education to the pupils as I feel it is important to interact with the children."

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