Laurel Avenue community funding

funding brings outdoors to durham school

10 March 2021 - Latest news

A new all-weather outdoor activity area has been constructed at a school in Gilesgate thanks to funding from a County Durham-based housing association.

Laurel Avenue Community Primary School has built a new 67 sq metre wooden shelter to make its outdoor space more useable throughout the year. The £17,300 project was made possible by a grant from believe housing’s community investment programme.

The shelter project has been carried out in conjunction with Laurel Avenue Community Association, which has been working alongside the school for more than 35 years.

Gilesgate is one of a number of areas highlighted by believe housing for additional support. People and projects in the area receive priority for grant funding and access to expert assistance on issues such as employment and welfare benefits.

Construction work has been completed during the current coronavirus lockdown, so that the new facilities will be available when schools and community groups return. The new space is set to be used for activities like messy play and exercise sessions as well as by toddlers and other community groups.

Youth groups will also use the facility as a base for outdoor activities and inter-generational gardening club sessions. More than 600 people a year are expected to directly benefit from the project.

The project was conceived before the coronavirus pandemic as a result of consultation with local parents that found many young people weren’t playing outdoors due to a lack of suitable spaces. But the completion of the new area is perfectly timed to take advantage of the planned gradual relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions.

believe housing Community Investment Officer, Debbie Howe, said: “This is a great new facility that I know is going to be used by so many people across Gilesgate. When we saw how much of a need there was for outdoor activity space in the area, we were really keen to support the school and community association to get their project off the ground.”

“Even though it was envisaged before coronavirus, I think the timing couldn’t be better. I’m sure it’s going to be invaluable over the coming months.

“Gilesgate is a great area, so close to Durham city centre. But we want to help the community to access more opportunities, and work with us to remove some of the barriers to making it even better.”

The new structure is part of the ‘Whatever the weather – We will be Together’ project by the school and community association. It has also received funding from BBC Children in Need, Durham Area Action Partnership, and the Peoples Health Lottery.

Gaynor Davison, Headteacher from Laurel Avenue Community Primary School said:

“We were thrilled to learn that we had received the grant from Believe Housing and to have the chance to give our children and families so many exciting opportunities as a result. Being able to use outside more extensively really supports the development of healthy and active lifestyles and the new structure has given us a place for physical activity, freedom and movement, whatever the weather. This funding will play a huge part in promoting the well-being of children and families here today and those joining us in the future; a real gift for the whole community. Thank you.”

believe housing’s community investment programme supports food banks, sports clubs, schools and charities across most of County Durham and many surrounding areas. The grant scheme has already distributed more than £150,000 during this financial year. For more details visit our community investment page or call the Community Investment Team on 0300 1311 999.

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