A HOUSEBUILDER has donated £1,000 to help Alcester students develop a sensory garden to improve their mental wellbeing.

Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Alcester runs weekly sessions called ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ which are designed to highlight how mental health is as important as physical health.

Persimmon Homes has donated £1,000 to the school to help create a sensory garden part of this programme.

Maggie Gourlay, headteacher at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School, explains: “We have been focusing on children’s mental health for several years now and our ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ are designed to enrich their lives and support their mental health. In particular, the Covid pandemic has had a significant impact on many of the children and we encourage them to acknowledge and gain a better understanding of their feelings.

“One of the initiatives we have been working on is the creation of a sensory garden where the children and staff can go to have some time of quiet reflection and appreciate the wonderful world around them. We also hope to grow fruit and vegetables in the future to help the children learn about horticulture and where their food comes from.

“This has been a real community effort. We have received help from sixth form students from St Benedict's Catholic High School, who designed the garden and prepared the ground and local people have donated rocks for the rockery, soil and a bench. We also had local retirement home gardeners helping us to lay the artificial grass and advise us on what would be best for the garden.

“The children have also got involved by having a ‘green’ day and paying £1 to come to school dressed in green and they have also put together their own joke book to raise money. We are very grateful to Persimmon Homes South Midlands for this donation which will give our plans for the sensory garden a real boost and means we can now get the garden completed.”

Amanda Rogers, head of sales for Persimmon Homes South Midlands, said: “This is an excellent initiative from Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School as it will not only go long way to helping mental health for the pupils and staff, but will also teach the children about nature, gardening and growing food. This is really what Community Champions is all about and we are delighted to help their plans along with this donation.”

Persimmon Homes South Midlands launched Community Champions with a view to helping community groups, charities and good causes across the region with two donations of up to £1,000 made locally every month.