Glascote shoppers donate their Co-op ‘divis’ so pupils can enjoy outdoor lessons even in the rain

A Glascote primary school has used a generous donation from shoppers at a local convenience store to build an all-weather canopy over a ‘hidden classroom’ in the grounds.

The large cover, built during the lockdown at The Woodlands Community Primary School, has been funded with cash from Tamworth Co-op’s Community Dividend Fund.

As part of the scheme, customers at the co-operative store in Glascote Road raised £1,424 by handing over the value of their dividends to the school for a project of its choice.

The new canopy at The Woodlands Community Primary which is providing shelter for pupils during their outdoor Forest School lessons.

The seven by five-metre corrugated tin roof stands on eight poles, providing shelter for youngsters during their outdoor Forest School lessons.

The school is set in woodland, but in recent years has added 50 trees with help from the Woodland Trust to provide an area where the children can learn about trees, building fires and dens, and teamwork.

Head Jonathan Baker said the school was extremely grateful to the shoppers and Tamworth Co-op for their kindness and spent the money as soon as it came in.

“The children are loving it and are enjoying it every day. Previously in wet weather we couldn’t use the forest as much as we would have hoped, so having this canopy over our hidden classroom is wonderful. It blends into the environment and has lots of space to carry on activities. Even if it rains now the children can still go into the woods and enjoy learning about their surroundings and have fun. There is no way we could have built the canopy without this help.”

The school, which has 290 pupils aged four to 11, has remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic for children of key workers. Around 100 pupils in years 1 and 6 and reception returned at the beginning of June.

Annette Brindley, manager of the Tamworth Co-op-run store, said the customers would be delighted to know that their ‘divi’ money had helped to provide such an important resource.

“We ask them every year to donate their dividends to an organisation which brings a lot of benefit to the local community, either through education, as in this case, or by enriching people’s social lives. The shoppers nominate which group they would like their dividends to go to, and we adopt that cause. In previous years, we’ve helped a variety of clubs, charities and schools whose work benefits all ages.”

The Community Dividend Fund, which is now in its eleventh year, hands out thousands of pounds annually to groups in the area. Each of Tamworth Co-op’s eleven convenience stores, supermarket and fashion outlet adopts a separate worthy cause to support.