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School children boosted by wind farm's community benefit fund

Dunbar Primary School outdoor space 4

Children at Dunbar Primary School will soon have a new and extended outdoor space, thanks to funding from an East Lothian wind farm.

A grant of £3,050 from Community Windpower, owners of Aikengall Community Wind Farms, will ensure the school can purchase school sheds, an event shelter and improve the accessibility around the wildlife pond.

The improvements to the courtyard garden will not only create extra and more stimulating learning environments for P1s, P2s and P3s, but also allow the school to adhere to health and safety guidance around Covid-19.

The money is being provided through BeGreen, which manages part of the community benefit funds from Aikengall Community Wind Farms, on behalf of Community Windpower.

Dunbar Primary School’s depute head teacher, Joanne Legge, said: “This fantastic donation from Community Windpower and BeGreen will enable us to create a safe and sustainable space for our learners to access frequently during this difficult and challenging time.

“We recognise that the social and emotional needs of our children are much better supported in an outdoor natural environment, particularly in light of the current advice around Covid-19.

“The additional weather-proof sheds will allow children to independently access and tidy away resources, while the wonderful wildlife pond is on need of an overhaul.

“We are looking to extend access to the pond by creating a path around the back of the pond and update the viewing platform and railing to enable the children safe access.

In addition, the event shelter will allow the children to be able to sit outside for longer periods in very sunny or slightly wet weather, effectively creating an outdoor classroom.

“All this will allow for upwards of 400 P1-3 children to experience a more stimulating and flexible outdoor experience at different times through the school week.”

The funding is supporting improvements that are part of a bigger and longer-term project that will also encompass the creation of a large sandpit, erection of greenhouses, changes to planting, creation of bug hotel and hard landscaping.

Joanne added: “We want to ensure the outside space at our school is a vibrant environment, that supports all children during their education with us.

“With more than six hundred pupils and staff at the school, we make full use of our outside resources and hope to continue improving them in the future.

“This of course will depend on continued support from the pupils, Parent Council and local organisations such as Community Windpower and BeGreen.”

Diane Wood, community benefits director at Community Windpower, which operates the Aikengall Community Wind Farms in East Lothian, said: “It’s so important we support all members of our communities during this Covid-19 pandemic, which is why we didn’t hesitate when Dunbar Primary School explained what it was planning to do with the funding.

“Children need support to focus on something positive, to help with their mental health and encourage stimulating activity, particularly as they return to school following months away.

“The garden is a fantastic environment and it’s great to see a school and its pupils making use of outside space to encourage a more stimulating learning experience.”

For more information on the East Lothian Covid-19 crisis fund or to apply for support, contact 01368 863 720.

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