In celebrating the work we have done with the Pied Piper Appeal, we take a look back at our visit to Belmont Special School to see first-hand what a difference our new playground was making to their children.
The Jumbo Jungle Climber co-funded by Randall & Payne and the Pied Piper Appeal, which was the result of 18 months of fundraising was built earlier this year and its impact was being felt by the teachers as well as the children almost immediately afterwards.
Belmont Special School is situated on Warden Hill Road in Cheltenham. After a review of its playtimes, the school concluded the facilities were very limited for their children. They wanted to develop the OPAL (Outdoor Play & Learning) project and had some clear goals that they could not achieve without support. Belmont had previous links with the Pied Piper Appeal and approached them about the project, which resulted in the connection to Randall & Payne, since we were busy fundraising and wanted a clear goal to keep everyone motivated.
The first phase of the programme saw the introduction of numerous items to encourage imaginative play including a muddy kitchen, bricks, building materials and sensory items. However, from observing social times and talking to the children, the remaining ‘gap’ in provision was for the more physical children who love challenge and adventure!
Headteacher Kevin Head said, “This is where the climbing frame has made such a huge difference. It has allowed the children the opportunity to experience even more during their playtimes, developing life skills: sharing, cooperation, determination and perseverance.
“The facilities quickly reinvigorate the children and get them interacting with each other on a different level in comparison to the classroom.”The impact of the project is far reaching; the Belmont children have challenges around communication and interaction and social and emotional needs. The school monitors the number of incidents and challenging behaviour, and since the playground was installed, the school reports a huge 30% drop in incidents and much more physical exercise.
Kevin continues, “The facilities really have transformed the playtimes of the children at Belmont – setting them up superbly for their journey beyond Belmont. Thank you so much Randall & Payne and the Pied Piper Appeal.”
In May, Kevin was invited to Number 10 Downing Street by request of the Prime Minister to attend a reception to celebrate the oustanding work of teachers!
Kevin comments, “I was invited to Downing Street because of Belmont’s work and links with other schools, industry and great charities like the Pied Piper Appeal. It was lovely to talk to the Education Minister and share the links with Randall & Payne as the most recent community project.”
To find out more about the Pied Piper Appeal and the vital work that they do for children in Gloucestershire, visit piedpiperappeal.co.uk