Fundraisers get set for their big challenge to raise thousands of pounds for two Harborough primary schools

They want to raise £5,000 to create sensory gardens

Ridgeway and Great Bowden teachers getting ready for their Trekathon (Libby Harris, centre)
Ridgeway and Great Bowden teachers getting ready for their Trekathon (Libby Harris, centre)

Children, staff and governors are putting their best foot forward to raise £5,000 to create sensory gardens at two primary schools in Market Harborough.

The army of walkers are all coming together to clock up enough miles to complete the 874-mile hike from John O’Groats at the northern tip of Scotland to Land’s End at the bottom of Cornwall.

They are hitting the road to back the ambitious fundraising challenge at Great Bowden Academy and Ridgeway Primary Academy.

Executive headteacher at both schools, Sarah Bishop, said, “We have long held a desire to create a sensory garden at both schools.

“A space where children can feel grounded, calm and interact with nature.

“Around 1 in 6 of our children require extra support, a figure which has increased since the pandemic.

“While we are charged with ensuring a child’s academic success we are also determined to ensure their wellbeing,” added Sarah.

“Our sensory gardens will be used by the whole of both schools, creating outdoor learning spaces as well as areas in which we can practice mindfulness.

“We want our children to develop a love for the outdoors, to grow plants from seeds and take pride in their achievements.”

Libby Harris, 40, is helping to spearhead the epic three-month adventure as the special educational needs coordinator at both schools.

“We’ve got off to a great start and this is literally picking up pace all the time.

“I’ll be tallying up all the miles that we all chalk up day in day out and recording them down on our map,” said the mum-of-three.

“The map will tell us how far we have walked.

“We are setting out to raise at least £5,000 – and we’ve already topped £500.

“We are determined to hit our target before the Easter break and by the end of March – so time is of the essence and every day counts.”

Libby, of Husbands Bosworth, said staff and governors are tackling a gruelling 50km (31ml) walk in London on Saturday March 26.

“We all know that getting out and about, breathing in fresh air and enjoying exercise is good for us mentally as well as physically.

“We are also bringing so many people together to do this,” said Libby.

“On top of that we are striding out and going that extra yard to support a fantastic cause.

“So it really is a win win for all of us.”

She said they already have a special sensory room at Ridgeway primary school and a sensory zone at Great Bowden school.

“About 20 per cent of the children across both our schools have special educational needs.

“That’s quite a bit higher than the national average of 12 per cent,” said Libby.

“Some of our pupils have autism and ADHD.

“It’s very important that they have a lovely special space like a sensory garden to be able to relax in and enjoy.

“The gardens will also be great for children just feeling a bit overwhelmed at school and youngsters who have sadly suffered bereavement during the Covid pandemic.

“We want to create stand-out features such as barefoot paths, pebbles, bark, sand, long grass, ferns, a water feature, wind chimes, hedgehog houses and bird feeders.

“The sensory gardens will be beautiful havens, relaxing and peaceful retreats,” added Libby.

“We are all really looking forward to creating them at both the Ridgeway and Great Bowden schools.

“So please get behind our effort, we appreciate every penny that you can donate to help us on our way.”

You can help to fire up Libby and her wonderful legions of walkers by going on to their fundraising page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/sensory-gardens-challenge