Describe your project
We are a parent led, fundraising committee for our small, rural school in the Blackdown Hills. Last year we managed to raise some money to start our pond area project but sadly it remains unfinished. Our school is unique in as that the school grounds and playground equipment are always open to the local community outside of school hours. We now need to make this pond/garden area safe by installing a suitable non-slip surface that is accessible year round and wheelchair friendly so that it can be used/enjoyed by the school children and local community for activities such as pond dipping, learning about nature, wildlife, planting vegetables, Forest school and pure enjoyment/socialising.
How will your project benefit your local community?
Our project will give our community a focal meeting point because at present we don't have one - no pub, shop or Post Office anymore. It will provide all our children in the community a play space and we want to make sure it's safe. The pond area will give older residents a tranquil setting in which to relax and/or enjoy watching the younger generation play. It will be used by Forest school, which helps children develop life skills. The whole space is focused on wildlife and enabling our children and community learn about and appreciate nature.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
The community were an integral part of the initial design and have been hands on in helping with the work we have completed so far such as landscaping and fencing. They have also been supportive throughout our fundraising.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
All the local residents of Buckland St Mary will benefit, (population of approximately 521) as well as surrounding villages such as Bishopswood, Birchwood and Otterford. In addition the school pupils (currently 68) and their families. Our pond area can also be used by outside groups such as local scouts and brownies.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
At present the area around the pond and garden has only a hardcore sub-base which is unsightly, not suitable for wheelchair users and impractical. We intend to spend the money on an all weather, non slip surface which will make the area accessible all year round. We plan to install gravel stabilisation grids throughout so that we can then add an attractive gravel surface which won't travel and make a mess. We also need to lower a kerb and make a pathway of paving stones that is suitable for wheelchair users enabling them to travel through the garden to the pond area.
When and why was your project founded?
Friends of Buckland School committee was founded 35 years ago but this particular pond project was started last Spring (2017).