Describe your project
140 children aged 11 and under attend Thriplow Primary School, an academically successful Diocese of Ely Multi Academy Trust (DEMAT) academy, situated in Thriplow village, Hertfordshire. Talented staff ensure children have every opportunity to thrive academically, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Children are encouraged to look beyond school and consider how they can better the wider world. Thriplow’s Tree is a mural in the central school stairwell which adopts an annual theme; resilience, making mistakes, making a difference etc. Throughout the year children make, write and place ‘leaves’ and ‘blossom’ on it and the bare Thriplow Tree transforms to a tree brimming with ideas, thoughts and achievements on the annual theme. Thriplow’s Tree is an important visual aid for promoting personal and social awareness and well-being. However, investment is needed to re-plaster and re-paint the damaged stairway and to re-paint the tired mural to give the tree the prominence it deserves.
How will your project benefit your local community?
Thriplow is a small, rural community of 400 houses. Thriplow Primary School draws pupils from Thriplow and surrounding villages; Heathfields, Newton, Fowlmere, Duxford, Great Chishill, Flint Cross, Heydon and Barley. The school is an important contributor to the local Community. It holds a bi-annual community ball, it provides car parking for the church and hosts the village playgroup as well as promoting other village groups and charities. Every year, up to 14,000 people visit Thriplow village’s Daffodil Weekend, run by over 350 volunteers. This year, £60,000 was raised for charities; 2019’s primary charity was Addenbrookes Charitable Trust. The school plays a major role in this community event; the school grounds are used for stalls, tea rooms and parking, a large roster of school parents volunteer their time to run charity stalls and the children perform at the weekend, highlighting the importance of community involvement. Thriplow’s Tree, visible to all visitors at the school, promotes resilience, a growth mindset and the importance of maintaining good mental health. Despite severe underfunding, these are key enablers for adult and young people’s success in daily life. The project will help to remind pupils, staff and visitors of the importance of these wider social matters.
Please give details of any support you have from your local community
Visitors and parents often comment on the Thriplow Tree, its topics and its impact. The Thriplow Tree connects the Governors’ and Headteacher’s vision to the communication between staff and pupils, to the collaboration with the parent body and the wider village community. The mental health charity, Mind, report that each year one in four adults experience a mental health problem and anti-depressant prescriptions have risen by 46% since 2012. Thriplow’s Tree is a superb learning aid for the school community to use in this vital area of children’s development, to build resilience and to safeguard future positive mental health.
How big is your community? And how many people will benefit from your project?
The project will benefit Thriplow Primary School’s 140 pupils, their families and the wider community as the children enhance their social, emotional and psychological awareness. It will improve the appearance of the school for all and help attract future pupils so the school and community can continue to thrive.
Tell us what you intend to spend the money on.
The mural is currently worn and faded and plaster is falling off the stairway walls. If successful, we would use the grant to repair the walls on the staircase, repaint them and fund an illustrator to paint a new mural of the Thriplow Tree. The mural’s design will be based on an Oak tree in the grounds of the Primary School and will include animals, birds, insects, flora and fauna local to our area. The grant would also fund art and research resources, two days of design sessions between the mural artist and the children and two days of research sessions for the children in our Wildspace (outdoor learning area) so the pupils can investigate the natural world around them, expand their creative knowledge and use this to contribute to the Tree’s design. The project will therefore expand the pupils’ artwork, creativity and their knowledge of the local natural world. We anticipate that the new mural will not need further work for at least 10 years.
When and why was your project founded?
The Thriplow Tree was painted by a former pupil’s parent a number of years ago. It is a unique feature of the school and the proposal to repair and repaint this area of the school is a fundraising project in its own right.