Wood you believe it! Housebuilder funds forestry equipment for primary school

• From left: Bellway Wessex Sales Advisor Katie Hewson; pupils from Blandford St Mary Primary School with Forest School Leader and Year 1 Teacher Lauren Pidgeon and Bellway Wessex Sales Manager Emily Putnam with some of the forestry equipment funded by the housebuilder.

By Andrew Diprose [email protected]

Published: February 5, 2024 | Updated: 5th February 2024

A primary school has expanded its forest school programme thanks to a donation from housebuilder Bellway Wessex.

Bellway logo

The developer is building new homes at St Mary’s Hill in Blandford St Mary.

It’s now provided £500 to fund new equipment for Blandford St Mary Primary School’s after-school forestry club.

The money has been used to purchase den-building equipment such as rope, sticks, clamps and a tarpaulin as well as waterproof overalls for the children, outdoor storage, tools for activities and resources for the mud kitchen and seating area.

Lauren Pidgeon, Forest School Leader and Year 1 Teacher, said: “Forest School has been proven to improve children’s mental health.

“It also provides skills which can be transferred to other areas of their learning, for example their ability to manage emotions.

“The money that Bellway has so generously gifted our school has allowed us to develop our Forest School programme.

“We have been provided with a helping hand to obtain resources that will contribute to the success of the forest school.

“It has been amazing to see the children use these resources and witness the joy that it brings them.

“We are truly grateful for Bellway’s generous contribution to our children’s learning experiences.”

Bellway Wessex Sales Manager Emily Putnam and Bellway Wessex Sales Advisor, Katie Hewson, join pupils in the after-school forestry club’s mud kitchen.

Emily Putnam, Sales Manager for Bellway Wessex, said: “A forest school is quite a unique extra-curricular activity and it was wonderful to see the children making the most of the equipment we have funded.

“Ecology and sustainability are at the heart of our ‘Better with Bellway’ strategy so supporting a project such as this seemed a natural fit.

“It’s fantastic that the staff at Blandford St Mary Primary School are investing so much time in helping the pupils connect with the natural world.

“We hope the new equipment will improve the outdoor learning experience for the children and we look forward to hearing about the continued progress of the forestry club.”

Bellway Wessex is building 207 homes at its St Mary’s Hill development at the southern edge of the village.

Ashberry Homes, which is also part of the Bellway Group, is building 143 new homes at the neighbouring St Mary’s View site.

As part of the planning agreement for the combined 350-home development, Bellway is contributing a total of £2.4 million to help improve local infrastructure and services.

More than £2 million of this funding is going towards education in the area.

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