Sproughton: Dame Vera Lynn Trust School for Parents issues appeal for outdoor play area

SPROUGHTON: Can you help create a play area for children in need?

That is the question being asked by the School for Parents, which helps children with motor learning difficulties such as cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome, as they launch an appeal for a new outdoor area at their Sproughton centre.

The school, which is run by the Dame Vera Lynn Trust, has nowhere for children to play outside and enjoy the fresh air – and develop a better understanding of the world around them using their senses of touch and smell.

But fundraisers are now hoping to lead a community effort to change that by installing an outdoor area, meaning youngsters could go out and enjoy the good weather, take part in messier activities and learn more about nature as they work on learning skills that other young children take for granted.

Regional fundraiser Sara Baxter said: “On a sunny day it can be quite cool inside, so it would be nice to come out and experience a bit of the wind and warmth.

“Creating an outdoor area will be a healthy move for us and the children. You’ve got the fresh air, contact with nature and the elements – it’s just a nicer way to learn.

“It can be quite difficult for a lot of the children who come here to access the outdoors anyway, so it could act as a bit of an inspiration to mums and dads.”

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The school currently works with toddlers and young children to build communication skills, their ability to crawl or walk along with other motor skills, and learn how to interact with other youngsters.

They are hoping an outdoor area could include sensory aspects such as fragrant herbs, large planter boxes and a padded area for children who are just learning to move.

Alison Stonham, head of early years at the Burstall Lane school, said: “For most of the children, it will be a place where they can do the programme and activities in the fresh air, and just enjoy the outside spaces, hearing all the animals and outdoor noises.

“This time last summer we were going to be closing, but the security that the Dame Vera Lynn Trust has offered means we’ve doubled our numbers and our sessions, so now it’s time to look at all the things that go along with that – that we never had the money or the time to do before.”

Sara added that a newly-refurbished outdoor area would help ease the nerves of worried parents.

“Maybe there is a company out there that does this sort of thing and might be able to help us. We want the community to know we’re here and get involved a bit more.”

n The school is looking for volunteers to come forward to help design and equip the area. Donations of time, money and sponsorship from businesses are also being welcomed. Contact Sara Baxter on 01473 652880 or sara.baxter@dvltrust.org.uk if you can help.