Alconbury School has a new inspiring outdoor area thanks to local volunteers

Volunteers teamed up to improve the outside space at the Ermine Street Church Academy Primary School as part of an employment and skills project recently.  

The group formed the Green Team, a course for those who are currently unemployed and looking for new opportunities, run by community charity Groundwork East and funded by Highways England’s A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme and Urban&Civic.

Over the course of 10 weeks, the Green Team revamped the school’s outside space, creating an inspiring area for learning and creative, imaginative play.

Not only have the team gained valuable practical experience, they have also been awarded a City & Guilds Level 1 in Practical Horticulture which will help boost their job prospects

Andrea Finbow, Employment and Community Project Supervisor for Groundwork East in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said: “The school grounds look fantastic now, I am sure the children will enjoy them thanks to the hard work of the team. Congratulations Green Team!”

Adrian Shepherd, Headteacher at Ermine Street Church Academy said “When we opened Ermine Street Church Academy nearly 4 years ago we had a dream that one day we would have a large natural area, maybe even a nature reserve, which the children and community could learn and play in. Thanks to funding from the A14 Community Project, Groundwork and the Green Team, this dream has now become a wonderful reality. The difference the area will make to our children is huge.”

Clare Stonham, Highways England Assistant Project Manager said “We’re pleased for the A14 to be supporting this and other important community initiatives. Since work started on Britain’s biggest road project, our team has supported good causes and charities in our local community with funding in excess of £450,000.

“The A14 has employed around 13,000 people throughout the project so far, and we want to help get people into employment and give them the skills to have successful careers in construction. Initiatives such as this help us to achieve that, and to ensure we have the workforce to continue improving Britain’s strategic roads.”

Last week (23 January 2020) the group celebrated their achievements at the school, where guests gathered to admire their work and watch as the team were presented with certificates.

The design for the outside area was completed by Groundwork East’s Landscape Architects, who undertook consultation events with parents, pupils, and staff at the school to ensure the area had their desired features.

The school gained funding from the John Laing Charitable Trust for the materials.

This project is part of a long-standing partnership between Groundwork East and Urban&Civic who are committed to improving the lives of local people and the places they live in.