March 4 2015 Latest news:
Saturday, April 26, 2014
A few weeks ago, pupils at Westwood Primary School in Lowestoft were heartbroken when vandals wrecked their outdoor play area, pulling down fencing and smashing equipment.
But dismay turned to joy after the youngsters returned from their Easter break to find a new garden and new-look classrooms after a major refurbishment project.
The pupils were soon busy exploring their new play area, which includes a bark path, fencing, extra flowerbeds and a sandpit.
It was all a far cry from the scene six weeks ago when vandals caused £2,000-worth of damage. After seeing an article on the vandalism, staff at the Norfolk-based building firm RG Carter provided manpower, materials and labour free of charge to transform the garden area.
Grant Keys, director and general manager at the firm – which is constructing a new £4m customer centre for Essex and Suffolk Water in Lowestoft – said: “After reading about the mindless vandalism suffered by the school, we immediately got in touch to see if there was anything we could do.
“We carry out a lot of work in the Lowestoft area and we take our corporate and social responsibilities very seriously. It’s important that businesses like ours work closely with the community and that, together, we take a stand against those who cause upset and disruption to people’s lives.”
Headteacher Rae Aldous said the school had two offers of free labour and materials to repair the damage and to help out with a renovation project.
With major refurbishment needed “to bring the school up to date”, she said they were also contacted by Hollesley Bay Prison, which made a team available to carry out some work in the evenings.
She said: “When I joined as headteacher in September 2012, the internal décor was absolutely horrendous and not fit-for-purpose.
“We needed to make it up-to-date all inside the school, and so with the help of the free labour provided by RG Carter and Hollesley Bay, we’ve been able to renovate the classrooms inside as well as making good repairs to the vandalism outside.”
With the classrooms repainted, and newly decorated, with new computers and work rooms installed, Mrs Aldous added: “The children used the facilities for the first day back on Wednesday and they were very excited. They were over the moon and it makes them feel better in their environment.
“RG Carter have been fantastic, as have the local prison.”
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