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Sciensus volunteers support local schools through summer volunteering

27 August 2021

Ahead of the new school term, volunteers from Burton-based healthcare provider Sciensus have been painting classrooms and staff rooms and creating sensory gardens.

The team of 44 dedicated volunteers has spent the summer holidays giving well-needed makeovers to 10 local schools. Their work included painting staff rooms and classrooms and creating sensory gardens. The volunteering continues a relationship that Sciensus has had with local schools since 2018, and took place after plans to volunteer in 2020 were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the year since, a waiting list of schools was created, and the creation of sensory gardens was added as an activity that colleagues could take part in.

The schools that benefited from Sciensus’ volunteering days were:

In Burton-on-Trent:

  • Outwoods Primary School (26th July)
  • William Shrewsbury Primary School (27th July)
  • Eton Park (28th July)
  • Burton Fields School (29th July)
  • John of Rolleston Primary School (30th July)
  • Rangemore Primary School (25th August)
  • Grange Community School (26th August)
  • Shobnall Primary School (27th August)

In Uttoxeter:

  • Loxley Hall School (4th August)

In Rugeley:

  • Redbrook Hayes Community Primary School (10th August)

Maddy Burkett, headteacher at Burton Fields School, said:

“The three volunteers worked really hard to complete our sensory garden project. They had listened closely to what we wanted, and came prepared to turn it into a reality. In a previously unusable corner of our grounds, we now have an area where children can relax and play games at the picnic tables, have fun finding the curiosities hidden in and under the trees, grow herbs in the tyre planters, and watch birds in the bird boxes, all hidden from view of the neighbouring public park by the privacy screening that Sciensus also installed for us.

“We are looking forward to introducing this area to the children after the summer holidays as part of our breaktime and outdoor learning provision, and are very grateful to the three wonderful ladies who gave up their time to provide it for us.”

Victoria Williams, deputy head at Redbrook Hayes Community Primary School, said:

“We are so grateful for the support and resources provided – our sensory garden is now looking fantastic and ready for the start of the new school year. As a result of this renovation, the garden is accessible for a range of ages and will be in use much more than previously, having an impact on many learners. Thank you Sciensus.”

Kevin Oakley, an inclusion officer in the emotional support unit at Loxley Hall School, Uttoxeter, said:

“The Sciensus volunteers supplied all the paint and materials and worked hard all day. It was fantastic. The classroom was in need of a makeover, and the work they did brightened up the whole room. That it’s now all freshly painted means a new start ready for the coming academic year.

“We’re really appreciative of the volunteering that Sciensus did at Loxley Hall. We’re hoping that we’ll be able to use that service again, not just because it’s free, but because it was really helpful to our school.

“A big thanks to Sciensus, for doing this for us. It really has helped us out.”

Sciensus is committed to giving back to the Burton-on-Trent community. The volunteering also offered an opportunity for colleagues to reconnect after a long period of remote working, with benefits for employees’ overall wellbeing.

Sciensus’ group company secretary, John Bradshaw, who volunteered at Loxley Hall, said:

“I recognise the importance of giving something back to the community in both my personal and work life, and was pleased by the opportunity to be able to paint a classroom for the benefit of the school, teachers and pupils.

“I was heartened by the expressions of appreciation shown by the school for the work that we had done.”

Jackie Reeves, the organisation’s human resources director, who volunteered at Redbrook Hayes Community Primary School, said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my day creating the sensory garden. What struck me most was how such a small amount of my time could improve the experience that the school is able to provide to its pupils. We created opportunities for children to grow plants from seeds, hopefully providing different play and learning experiences.

“It was great working alongside colleagues and feeling that we could make a difference.”

Seeds for the sensory gardens were provided by Morrisons Burton, and refreshments for volunteers by Tesco Burton.

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