Climbing to the top of the playhouse, balancing on the wooden bridge and whizzing down the slide are just some of the activities that the children at the Margaret Coates Centre can do on their brand new playground equipment. Now the school is asking for help to raise a further £14,000 to help complete phase 2 of the playground refurbishment.
The Margaret Coates Centre is a specialist unit that offers provision for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder attached to St Martin’s Garden Primary School in Odd Down, Bath. The unit currently supports 21 children aged 4-11 years, and caters for each child’s individual needs through a diverse curriculum that focuses on developing life skills alongside academic progress. Playtime at the Margaret Coates Centre is one of the many highlights of the day, a chance to develop social communication skills and to have fun.
Once it was discovered that the old playground equipment at the Margaret Coates Centre was no longer fit for use, the charity Friends of the Margaret Coates Centre (FOMCU) took on the daunting task of trying to raise the funds needed to buy new playground equipment, approximately £15,000. FOMCU is led by the parents and families of the children at the centre, who generously gave their time to organise fundraising events such as quiz nights in order to raise money for the new playground equipment.
Combined with receiving a grant from The National Lottery Fund and several generous donations from families and members of the community, FOMCU managed to raise enough money to begin installing the new equipment. Over October half term Phase 1 of the installation was complete, and the children were very excited to begin playing on a new playhouse and swings, as well as balancing beams and climbing equipment.
A further £14,000 is required to complete Phase 2 of the playground in which it is hoped to install a sunken in-ground trampoline, pirate ship area for imaginative and collaborative play and an area to support communication development. To help with this fundraising, St Martins Garden Primary School is hosting a Fashion Show & Art Auction on 2 December. This special event will include a fashion show, auction of children’s art pieces and free sampling of food. Tickets are £5 per person (children are free) with tickets available for the Customer Services Desk at Sainsbury’s in Odd Down.
Speaking about the new play equipment, Michael Bogg, Team Leader at the Margaret Coates Centre, commented, “It is wonderful to see the joy the new play equipment has brought to the children. I would like to thank everyone that has helped make this possible. With the first phase of re-development complete I hope that we can continue the momentum and raise the funds for the remaining work. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for the children to have high quality outdoor spaces. It makes such a difference to their day.”
If there is anyone that would like to make a donation towards the costs or know any businesses that may be able to help by sponsoring equipment the Margaret Coates Centre would love to hear from them on 01225 832 112.