Hardworking team improves school facilities for children in Deptford

Colleagues from the High Capacity Railways System (HCRS) and SEVA Rail recently gave up their time to improve the facilities for children – and bugs – at the Grinling Gibbons school in Deptford, where they dug, cleared, built and weeded over the October half-term.

The volunteers cleared the overgrown vegetation, spruced up the vegetable plots, erected a fence and removed the fly tipped waste – of which there was a huge amount – thereby freeing up space.

The newly created green area enabled the pupils to venture outdoors and appreciate the outside environment. Meanwhile, the team reused rotting logs, redundant tubes, wooden pallets and tree branches from the site to construct a bug hotel.

As snug as a bug

The team weeded and cleared the vegetable garden and constructed a ‘bug hotel’ (pictured surrounded by the team), where tiny creatures, such as aphids, spiders, moths, toads and slugs can happily feed (themselves and larger predators), hide and mate, strengthening the ecosystem and giving the children a fascinating glimpse into a diverse and vibrant world we rarely see.

Constantly curious

The Grinling Gibbons Primary School has a creative curriculum that is designed to foster curiosity and develop motivation and habits that encourage the children to be lifelong learners.

This learning community offers the best possible support to the children who attend it and aims to be an integral part of the local community working closely with both the children and their parents in order to create an environment that best meets their needs.

A rewarding experience for all

Martin Chatfield, Project Director Southern Capital Delivery – HCRS said: “It’s fantastic to see that the project team has looked for an opportunity to give something back in the local area where we are busy delivering improvements to the signalling system for our passengers. In doing this we are able to provide the local community something more than they would normally see Network Rail doing. To personally receive the thank you cards entitled ‘dear railway people’ from the children aged 4 and upwards really gave me a sense of just how important this is.”

As Lee McRoberts, Senior Programme Manager Southern Capital Delivery HCRS, who organised the volunteers for Network Rail said: “It was amazing to be able to be involved in such an event. The project have been working in this area for a number of years and to be able to give something back too so many local children whilst enjoying a sunny autumn day outside with my colleagues was an extremely rewarding experience and one that I would encourage others to get involved in”

Speaking after the work had been completed, Executive Business Manager at the school, Timur Kay, said: “It’s fantastic to see the difference. The hard work of the volunteers has helped us reclaim an otherwise-lost area of our playground.”

The Head of School, Mr Dean Gordon went on to add: “This space will give us an opportunity to broaden our curriculum and will provide an outdoor learning environment for our pupils. There is a real shortage of green space in our environs and the outdoor learning area will help our pupils to get closer to nature. It will not only be a space for learning but also for be a calm and tranquil haven for practising mindfulness and improving their well-being by being closer to nature.”