ST MARY’S RC Primary School in Levenshulme is hoping to raise £66,000 to convert its waterlogged playing fields into a multi-sports pitch.
The all-weather pitch is the final project in the school’s five-year ground improvement plan to create a more eco-friendly and sports-orientated environment for pupils as well as the local community.
Last October they launched an online appeal through Spacehive – a funding platform for projects to improve local areas – and have so far raised over £20,000, including a £5,000 pledge from Manchester City Council.
School Governor John Usher, who is spearheading the project said: “We see our outdoor learning as a priority to children’s physical and mental wellbeing.
“Obesity levels in the area are an ongoing concern.
“We are based in an urban area which suffers from a number of social issues and deprivation and as such we play an important role in providing extra-curricular support to the community.”
Mr Usher hopes the 30 by 18 metre MUGA (multi use games area) will broaden the scope of sports available to pupils and nearby residents and will also make sport more inclusive for children with disabilities.
The school prides itself on its commitment to outdoor learning and through grants has created a Forest School and Peace Garden but this belies the state of the playing fields, which are unusable for the majority of the school year.
The school’s dramatic increase in sporting activities over the past five years was recently recognised through the awarding of the Sainsbury’s School Games GOLD mark, a government-led initiative which encourages schools’ commitment to the development of PE, sport and competition.
Over the past few months parents, students and teachers have been rallying support for the campaign and with just over 30 days left they encouraging businesses in Greater Manchester to get involved.
Headteacher Mylene McGuire said on-site sporting facilities are crucial in accommodating an ever-growing student body.
She said: “We put outdoor learning at the heart of everything we do because we believe that children need a balanced curriculum and we just haven’t got the facilities at the moment to do that.
“We have almost 400 children, small playgrounds and have to split children up at lunchtimes and playtimes, they can’t all be outside at the same time.
“The pitch will enable the children and local community to participate in sport all year round.”
To find out more about the campaign, visit https://www.spacehive.com/st-marys