Appeal to help rebuild Preston school’s outdoor classroom destroyed by vandals

Help is needed to rebuild a ruined outdoor classroom in Ashton-on-Ribble.

By Aimee Seddon
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 7:34 pm

A Preston charity is calling for volunteers to help rebuild a local school’s outdoor classroom, after it was destroyed by unknown vandals.

Roebuck Primary School in Ashton-on-Ribble, returned from the summer holidays last week to find their outdoor tyre classroom, wooden playhouse, log seats, tree swing and mud kitchen smashed to pieces, and they reached out to the charity, Here for Humanity, to help.

Chris Murray, the founder of Here to Humanity explained: “We worked with the school on the outside classroom and we did have plans to do more work there, so when the headteacher said it had all been smashed up and asked if we could help rebuild it, I put a post on our community groups, and we did get a £200 donation from a local business, We Clear Blockages, and Dig in North West, a woodworking place for Veterans, have agreed to make a mud kitchen, but we would certainly like a lot more support.

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Pupils at Roebuck Primary School in their now destroyed outdoor classroom.

“We need volunteers to help clean the area because it's still not safe, and a van would be good to help clear away the old wood. We also need volunteers to help build it, and more donations of equipment, pots, pans and utensils for the mud kitchen, things for the outdoor classroom, decent logs, benches, and we need to build a new mud hut with pallets, so anything that can be used by the kids really.”

Chris says that anyone that can help with the clear-up and rebuild, should contact Here for Humanity, by visiting their Facebook page or phoning 07446480797, rather than going through Roebuck Primary.

The school's headteacher, Mrs Alexander-Steele, said: "We are deeply saddened by the sudden spate of vandalism in our outdoor classroom. The staff had worked really hard to create an area where children of all ages could enjoy outdoor learning, develop their outdoor skills, and improve mental health and well-being, in a safe and secure environment.

"Using this facility was the highlight of the week for some children and they are devastated that such a wonderful space has been destroyed.

The school was shocked to find their outdoor classroom smashed by vandals.

"As the Headteacher, I would like to thank the local residents for their continued vigilance, as well as Chris from Here for Humanity for raising awareness and organising support so that we can, hopefully, get it up and running again as soon as possible."

Here for Humanity is a community organisation which was set up during the pandemic to feed vulnerable families but has since gone on to expand its work across Preston, and last week even won the BBC Make a Difference ‘Championship award’ for helping elderly people who were socially isolated during the pandemic.

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Chris explains Here for Humanity has always been linked to Roebuck Primary as their building faces the school, and his five year old daughter Winnie attends, even starting a breakfast club herself at Roebuck for key worker’s children during the pandemic, for which she received a High Sheriff of Lancashire Commendation.

Here for Humanity are calling for volunteers and donations to help rebuild the outdoor classroom

The school also made 100 handmade Christmas cards for Here for Humanity's Christmas delivery meals this year, whilst the charity helped build the outdoor classroom in the first place, and undertakes the cleaning of the school's field themselves.

Chris added: “We're very passionate about the school, and it's just heartbreaking that the students have to suffer. We're not talking about a high school, with teenagers, we’re talking about a nursery and a primary school, in fact the outdoor classroom attaches to the nursery, so they've actually targeted the youngest of the kids and these kids are our future, so its heartbreaking to see this and that's why it's important to get some more support, because really, I'd want it to be better than it was before, because the pain of going through this is is something that I feel should be compensated."

A Roebuck pupil holding up the sink from their now broken mud kitchen.
Here for Humanity clearing the school's outdoor area, prior to the vandalism.