Latest AWE Project – New Forest School at St James Primary

10 April 2022 |

With the Summer fast approaching volunteers from the local community joined together to help build a forest school area at St James Primary School in Okehampton this week as part of Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust’s AWE scheme of projects. The Trust’s AWE (Awe, Wonder & Environment) Projects rejuvenate school facilities, with the help of willing teams of staff, governors, older students and the wider community. It was initially designed as a continuation of the strong community spirit which had been evidenced during lockdown and has seen numerous local businesses pledge their support. On this occasion, it was the amazing support of LiveWest which made this transformation possible.

Geraldine Carter, Associate Principal of St James Primary School said: “Having this outdoor learning area will be a fantastic resource for the children where they can grow vegetables, learn about nature in the forest school, play in the mud kitchen and listen to stories in the outdoor seating area. We are so grateful to LiveWest and their team of volunteers for creating these features and more besides.”

Melissa Trudgill, Community Engagement Manager for Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust said: “The children of St James Primary School will be amazed by the transformation of this previously, unused area into an outside creative learning space, where they can enjoy the outdoors and learn from nature. This is a collaborative project where the Trust worked with the School’s PTFA, DMAT estates team and volunteers from LiveWest and after a lot of planning created a new, much needed space on one day! Thank you, LiveWest.”

Vickie Norris from the PTFA helped create the plan for the space and helped to coordinate materials and apply for donations. She said: “We had an ambitious plan for transforming the area into a useful and exciting space for the children, but LiveWest volunteers took on the challenge and very successfully achieved all we planned. We couldn’t have done it without their hard work, and the donations we received from them, Okehampton Rotary and Eden Tree Care. I can’t wait for the children to start using the space!”

13 Volunteers from local housing association LiveWest helped to install a seating area with firepit, mud kitchen, archway and wildflower bed in a dedicated outdoor learning area at the school as well as LiveWest’s supplier Jewsons donating £300 funding as a social value contribution for equipment for the new site.

Alison Knight Community Connector at LiveWest said: “Our customers’ wellbeing is important to us. We were delighted to support the installation of the forest school area for children to spend time outdoors providing space for recreation and education opportunities. During the past months of lockdown, many people have taken to engaging with nature but for those without access to green spaces, communal garden areas and shared green spaces have been a blessing. The green areas in our communities are really important to residents, allowing them to socialise outside and enjoy the fresh air.”
The Trust’s community team of Derrick Brett, Executive Director of Civic Leadership and Melissa Trudgill, Community Engagement Manager facilitated the project bringing partners together from the community, the school and the PTFA. Vicki Norris, member of St James PTFA worked tirelessly with her PTFA team to raise funds, plan the space and negotiate materials to make the event a success.

LiveWest plans to build around 6,500 new homes over the next five years and will invest £2 billion into the region over the next 10 years. The protection and improvement of green spaces across its geography is part of its drive to build thriving communities. Managing over 38,000 homes across the region LiveWest is one of the first housing associations in the country to have launched an environmental blueprint with measurable targets.
Melissa Trudgill, Community Engagement Manager for the Trust has developed this partnership and is delighted that LiveWest will also be involved in an AWE Project at Okehampton Primary School and in the Holsworthy Community Fridge project.

We hope you enjoy these photos of the day taken by Kai Lau. Many thanks to him for recording this event and to Gary Friend and Adam Daniels for their hard work.