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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Road workers transform school yard into dream playground

A lacklustre school yard has been turned into a dream playground where children’s imaginations can run wild thanks to a team of volunteers from a nearby Highways England road scheme.

Pupils were treated to a stage, den area, bug hotels and even a mud kitchen in the playground makeover at Cooper Perry Primary School by the team working on the M6 junctions 13 (Stafford) to 15 (Stoke-on-Trent) upgrade.

During torrential rain, workers cleared the heavily over-grown site at the school in Seighford, near Stafford, leaving them a blank canvas to work on and the following week, in glorious sunshine, set about creating the perfect playground.

The volunteers all gave up their time and made use of anything on the M6 works site that could be recycled into play equipment such as cable reels, tyres, netting and pallets which were transformed into tables, tunnels and a den.

Highways England spokesperson Nick Wells said:

"We know that, whilst the motorway upgrade will ultimately increase capacity and bring more reliable journeys, the works can cause disruption for people in the local communities in the meantime.

That is why we are committed to giving something back to the community whenever we can and in this instance I think the volunteers, who gave up their own time for the project, have surpassed themselves.

It is wonderful to see the children enjoying themselves in their new-look playground and making use of the recycled equipment. We are delighted the team were able to help and bring such big smiles to the pupils’ faces."

Cooper Perry reception class teacher Vicky Batten said:

"The children were delighted with the transformation of their outdoor learning area. Clare and her team volunteered many hours to recycle and reuse equipment from their site that they no longer needed for the children to use and enjoy.

We are so grateful for the time and thought that was given to create such a wonderful learning environment for the children and know that they will have many hours of enjoyment as they explore and play with it all. Thank you so much."

The pupils also created their own cards and a scrap book to say thank you to the team for all of their hard work. Clare Bird, of contractor Kier, led the team of volunteers. She said:

"What a brilliant project to be involved with. The team and I worked really hard transforming the school yard using upcycled materials, making an area the children can have fun from using their imaginations on stage to cooking up a mud feast. We also built planters and bug hotels so the children can enjoy gardening."

"It was so nice to receive the cards and the teacher said the children are engaging and playing more with each other since the yard transformation which is lovely to hear."

Taking part in the makeover were volunteers from Highways England, Kier, JAJV (Jacobs Atkins Joint Venture) and ArB Tree Care.

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