We have re-launched our appeal across the region to raise funds for our much needed new playground. Bidwell Brook’s current playground is tired, uninspiring and in some areas, not fit for purpose. All our 160 pupils aged between 3-19, access this playground every day. With Bidwell Brook learners having severe and/or profound multiple learning needs, the new playground needs to be accessible for everyone. To quote Bidwell Brook’s Student Council representatives, the current playground is “boring”, “is bumpy which is hard for wheelchair users” and “we need new stuff to make it more fun.”
Our pupil numbers have been steadily increasing over the last few years due to the expansion of housing developments and the need to find additional special school places for SEN learners. We are lucky that our playground is nice and large to provide lots of space for our amazing pupils, but this does mean we have to find a lot of funding and ensure play equipment meets their specific needs.
We know the amount of money we need is significant; that's why we are having to work on the playground refurbishment in stages.
Phase One has been completed (May 2021), with a further 4 phases needing to be funded to complete the whole project by Spring 2023.
PHASE ONE BEFORE THE REFURBISHMENT: AND AFTER - HOW FABULOUS DOES THIS LOOK?!
We’d like to thank The Screwfix Foundation; Boshier-Hinton and The Farringdon House Trust who all contributed towards Phase One. When fully refurbished, the playground will feature a swings area with a wide range of inclusive swings; a MUGA (multi-use games area); wheelchair inclusive play equipment and equipment to aid sensory integration activities such as spinning, hanging, climbing and balancing.
We’ve tried really hard so far to fundraise and gather enough money to start work on this exciting and vital project, and are delighted Phase One is complete.
However, unless we receive significant financial support from our local communities and across the region, we will not be able to complete our dream playground which our wonderful pupils so very much deserve.
Outdoor play and space is vital for any child, but even more so for our special learners. The playground is accessed at various times across the school day not only for play but also as a learning space and to help pupils regulate. Our sensory learners in particular find swinging and bouncing movements beneficial – it helps prepare them to settle and work in the classroom. Our playground is vital for everyone’s learning opportunities.
The appeal for funding comes at a time when school budgets across Devon are coming under increasing pressure, with money for extras, such as play equipment, very hard to find.
We are calling on anyone and everyone to get involved, individuals and business owners, parents, carers, grandparents and holiday makers. You may be born and bred in Dartington and the surrounding villages, have recently moved or retired here, spend all your time or only part of the year in our special part of the world - whoever you are, maybe you can help our special needs children - they really need it!
If you would like to make a donation, Bidwell Brook School has set up a GoFundMe page for the playground: