Boost in bid for £220,000 accessible playground at school

Warren School specialised playground Lowestoft

Neil Hutchinson senior leadership team, Jenny Cockrill Chair of Warren Association, David Fisk (secretary) and Malcolm Cullen (Master) of Masonic Lodge of Unity with a student at the Warren School in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

An ambitious appeal to help transform a school's main playground into a specialised outdoor learning environment has moved a step closer to reality.

Since the start of last year, a dedicated group of parents and staff have worked tirelessly to raise thousands of pounds towards improving the outdoor facilities at the Lowestoft-area Warren School.

And now the Warren School Association is closer to reaching its funding target for the improved facilities at the special school in Clarkes Lane, Oulton Broad.

The Warren School Association and Timotay Playscapes' design concept

The Warren School Association and Timotay Playscapes' design concept for the special school in Lowestoft. - Credit: Timotay Playscapes

Jenny Cockrill, chair of the association and a teacher at the school, said: “When we started the project our target was to raise £188,000 but because of the increased cost of materials and because of delays, it has risen to £220,000.

"So far, we have around £160,000 in the bank which is close to our original target but now we will have to fundraise a bit more - but we are getting there.

"We have promises of some further funding but will still be £10,000 to £20,000 short."

The fundraising efforts have included organising a ‘Star challenge’ that involved the children earning stars for doing jobs around the house with parents sponsoring their achievements.

Warren School in Lowestoft.

Warren School in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mrs Cockrill added: "We have applied for grants and held Christmas and Easter raffles, a fundraising quiz and we have been given space for a stall at Kessingland car boot market too.

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"We have worked really hard to raise as much money as we can to fund the project.

"We are grateful to the Masonic Lodge of Unity who have just donated £1,000 to the project, the latest of a number of local organisations and companies to help with fundraising."

A funding boost towards improving the outdoor facilities at the Warren School in Lowestoft.

A funding boost towards improving the outdoor facilities at the Warren School in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

David Fisk, Masonic Lodge secretary, said: “We are one of seven lodges in Lowestoft and we raise money from various events and from the members as we support national and local causes.

"We particularly like to give to local projects.

"We have been shown around the outdoor area at Warren School and can see the need for the project and are pleased to be able to donate some funds to help them achieve their aim - for youngsters to benefit now and in the long term.”

The school has 120 students, aged from three to 19, all with severe and complex or profound and multiple learning difficulties, who come from across north Suffolk.

Project aims

Mrs Cockrill added: “Our intention with the project is to create an activity area and sensory garden accessible to all.

"The new area will be all inclusive so that all the children can use it irrespective of their disabilities.

“The plan includes provision of a floor trampoline, a wheelchair swing, and a wheelchair accessible climbing frame.

"There will be a creative area with musical instruments and a sensory area with pavements which will have different textured surfaces and light panels.

"So, it will be a brilliant facility for the children and help their learning.

"If everything goes to plan, we hope to start construction work on the project in October with a possible opening date before Christmas."

With grants, sponsorship or any donations still being sought email warrenassociationtrust@gmail.com