On Friday 12 September, local MP Jake Berry and the Mayor of Rossendale Councillor Thomas Aldred along with members of the local community joined with staff, students, governors and trustees to celebrate the long-awaited opening of Larkhill Rise Forest School.
Some paths and benches still exist from the original 2005 project , but new features include an outdoor classroom, mud slide, mud pit, fire pit, mud kitchen, bog garden, vegetable garden and poly tunnel and willow tunnel. Funding is still being sought for an outdoor classroom, and other resources for the project.
The project got off to a good start with two Big Digs, where over 100 people from schools and the community gave up three hours of their time at each event to help clear the site. Radio Lancashire broadcast live from the second event and MP Jake Berry was also in attendance.
Parent Nusrat Karim commented, “Larkhill Rise Forest School will be a wonderful resource for my children. I am delighted that the schools and nursery are proactively providing different learning activities to engage them and boost their confidence.”
Jake Berry reflected, “St. Paul’s School is a real example of how to make your school family an integral part of the wider Rossendale community. This outstanding project has drawn in local parents, pupils, teachers along with other local people who are working together to improve the learning environment for young people in the Valley.”
Acting Headteacher Samaira Nasim said, “I would like to thank our partners and everyone who have contributed to make this dream a reality. I would also like to pass on the thanks of the Larkhill Rise Forest School team to everyone who turned up with their families for the Big Dig 2 and has supported the project. Although it was hard work, it was really rewarding to see how much we all achieved and great community spirit in action!”