Farm renovations are nearing the final phase at Walton Hall Academy thanks to the outstanding work of volunteers and vast amounts of community support.
The Special Academy has been successfully harnessing community and corporate manpower to aid their DIY project but, as the final hurdle approaches, more volunteers are urged to get involved.
Over the past several months, Academy volunteers have been cleaning up the farm area and they certainly haven’t been afraid to get their hands dirty with new fencing being built, farm buildings painted, ponds cleared out, paving areas created, equipment repaired and much more.
Talking about the important role of volunteers, Amanda Cameron, Principal at Walton Hall Academy, explained: “Volunteers play a vital role at our school.
“Each week a number of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers undertake a diverse range of roles that not only benefit the pupils, but add value to the Walton Hall experience too.”
The Academy in Eccleshall, which provides special educational needs and disabilities provision to pupils aged 11 to 18, uses the farm to support their curriculum and provide pupils with the opportunity to learn valuable life and care-giving skills.
After David Thomas of the Little Laura Charity, a not-for-profit organisation which provides support to people with special educational needs and disabilities, secured £15,000 worth of building materials from the Jewson Tradesman of the year competition for renovation work on the school farm, the Academy have been able to get to work making their plans a reality.
This has been further aided by the widespread support of the community, with local business owners providing building materials and selflessly contributing their own time to the renovation project.
Mrs Cameron enthused: “We have established great links with the local community and through these we have been very kindly provided with all manner of services and donations.”
With more weekend work parties planned, Walton Hall is leading the way in community spirit and the farm overhaul is not the only aspect of Academy life which is reaping the benefits of a strong community support system.
From competitions and fundraisers, to rollercoaster rides and fly fishing, the ongoing sponsorships at the Academy provide pupils with opportunities and experiences they wouldn’t usually have.
Commenting on the vast community spirit displayed during the project, Mrs Cameron said: “The process of setting up community links and maintaining them can be time consuming, but the value to the students is immeasurable when this works well, like we’ve seen at our Academy.”
With the end in sight, volunteers are urged to join the Walton Hall team on 1st July, 9am till 1pm, to give the farm its finishing touches. For more information, contact Walton Hall Academy via firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01785 850 420.