We are the Friends of St John’s Church of England Primary School in Digswell (the School PTA). Our school has 230 children and 30 staff and is at the heart of a village community near Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire. As a caring, nurturing school, our teachers and staff strive to give the children the best chance to thrive.
Unfortunately, we know that children and others in modern society are at risk from negative influences on their health and wellbeing, including through social media and social pressure. We want to protect our children from these risks by creating an outdoor wellbeing space that they can benefit from, and to find ways to share these benefits with members of our local community, beyond the school gates. To us, each and every child means the W.O.R.L.D. and our project “Wellbeing Outdoors: Reflecting, Learning, Doing” will help all the children to be healthy, happy and well-rounded individuals.
Although our school is in a rural area, many of our children are not exposed to the benefits and wonders of the outdoor habitats on their doorstep. Similarly, although the school has a green space that the Friends, school and children have worked hard to improve, large parts of this are overgrown and inaccessible. We have one area in particular that has huge potential to be amazing for our children and the wider community but that is currently an overgrown and unused wasteland, full of nettles, brambles and weeds. With your votes, we desperately want to enhance this overgrown space to offer year-round positive play, relaxation and reflection: a place that children can socialise or find their own space, and, most importantly, enhance their health and wellbeing.
Several members of the local community, including from the horticultural society and community nurseries have expressed interest in helping with the transformation, and we know that the Friends, school and children are keen to get their hands dirty too. In fact, the children recently helped to clear out a hidden pond with local volunteers, which helped many of them learn about the pond habitat and the natural world in a way they hadn’t experienced before.
We are seeking funding to pay for:
- A local community group to come and clear the overgrown area;
- The local community group to teach the children, staff and volunteers at the school how to maintain the wellbeing area as well as teaching about the life-skills of gardening and conservation more generally; and
- A designated outdoor wellbeing space for reflecting, learning and doing, with painted benches, a sail shade, musical instruments, chalkboards, bug hotels, bird feeders, planters and more…
Once completed, while ensuring that our children benefit from the space through curriculum related activities, play and reflection, we also hope to share the W.O.R.L.D. wellbeing space with the local community. We will bring the community together in the new space by, for example, having days for community gardening, and by working with selected local organisations to hold community days with their members and beneficiaries, including persons from vulnerable groups. This way, although we are a small school, our project would benefit not just the 230 children in our school each year, but would aim to reach over a hundred members of community groups nearby each year.
Please support our project and help give our children and the community “Wellbeing Outside through Reflecting, Learning and Doing”.