Derbyshire apprentices build new forest school for children to learn outside
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Futures Housing Group, a not-for-profit social landlord based in Ripley which has 10,000 homes across the East Midlands, put the final finishing touches on a new forest school in Alfreton last month.
The outdoor classrooms were built by apprentices for Somerlea Park Junior and Infant schools after materials were donated by builders' merchants Travis Perkins.
Futures approached the schools and offered to build the classroom last year, but due to lockdown restrictions the project was delayed.
The apprentices, who are training in the housing association’s repairs academy, built the wooden structure which provides shelter while children learn about the countryside, with lessons on wildlife, plants, trees and activities such as lighting fires.
Repairs manager Lee Pratt said: "We’re proud to take part in this project, based in the heart of our community.
"Our apprentices really enjoyed building the forest school, which is near many Futures properties.
"I’m sure children from the local area will enjoy learning about the outdoors in the forest school."
Forest school leader, Mr Waller, who teaches the outdoor lessons added: "The children and staff at Somerlea Park junior school and at Somercotes infants school are really grateful to Futures Housing Group and Travis Perkins for building this fantastic shelter.
"It will make a huge difference to the children's experience during forest school sessions and I'm sure we will use it for other activities as well in the future. "
Futures team members and Dan Parkins from Travis Perkins accepted a plaque presented to them by the school children commemorating the project.
Dan commented: "All of us at Travis Perkins Ripley are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project and as soon as we were asked to get involved we jumped at the chance to give something back to the local community.
"Our partnership with Futures continues to grow and we are also proud to play our part to help the apprentices gain experience too.
"All in all, it was a great project to be involved in and we hope the pupils enjoy using the facility for many more years to come.”
The forest school will open for its first lessons in September when students return to school.