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Newmarket West Suffolk

School’s sensory garden blooming thanks to donation

A Newmarket school has celebrated the summer launch of its sensory garden, made possible thanks to a bursary donation from CALA North Home Counties. 

The £1,500 bursary was given to Newmarket’s Laureate Community Academy, with the funds going toward the creation of a new green outdoor space for the children to play and learn in. 

The donation, part of CALA’s Community Bursary initiative, has seen charities, voluntary organisations and community groups across the region invited to apply for a share of funding, with more than 300 worthy causes receiving over £300,000 since CALA launched the initiative in 2016. 

Brimming with calming flowers and scented herbs, the school’s head teacher hopes the new sensory garden will be utilised by the children as an outdoor classroom and a quiet place of contemplation. He also expects the garden to have a further positive impact of supporting the area’s pollinating insects, delivering a boost to local biodiversity. 

David Perkins, Laureate Community Academy’s Headteacher, said: “The idea of a sensory garden came about as a result of our Year 6 House Captains, who have worked hard to deliver a legacy at the school for future pupils to benefit from, after they move onto secondary. 

“This year, they decided to convert our old allotment area into a sensory garden for children to enjoy at lunchtimes, as well as being used as an outdoor classroom and other local community groups, such as Kid Zone – a youth club for those with Special Educational Needs, Newmarket Sea Cadets and West Suffolk College.  

“Although we loved the idea of the sensory garden, we were initially struggling to find the budget to deliver the initiative. Our usual PTA events – which normally raise tens of thousands for the school’s projects in recent years – had to be put on hold due to COVID, meaning fundraising has been mostly paused over the past 18 months.  

“As a result, the funding from CALA was a huge boost, as the sensory garden build wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the bursary we received. On behalf of the school, we’d all like to say a huge thank you to the team for helping deliver the project for the children – it will be an excellent asset for them to enjoy for many more years to come and a welcome boost to the school’s biodiversity credentials.” 

Glenn Copper, Sales & Marketing Director for CALA Homes North Home Counties, said: “We were delighted seeing the bursary grant being put towards a local initiative like this, which will be a real benefit for the Laureate Academy and its pupils.” 

“It’ll also be a welcome addition to boosting the school and the area’s biodiversity, with plants installed that help to support the area’s pollinator insects; an approach which is very much in line with CALA’s commitment to sustainability.” 

CALA’s aim is to not just build homes, but also support vibrant, exciting new communities by building long-term partnerships during the life of its developments. School outreach programmes include presentations on site safety, educational visits to sites, and informing young people on the career opportunities in housebuilding.  

CALA has just launched its own sustainability strategy, which provides a new focus to help the business achieve its targets of building operationally net zero carbon homes from 2030, and reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Scottish Government’s 2045 target and ahead of UK Government’s 2050 target.