Stockton village rallies for pre-school children

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It has been a testing school year for Stockton Stepping Stones – but it has all ended in smiles.

The pre-school suffered an arson attack in October, so it applied for a grant from the Heart of England Community Foundation – and received £750. The money was put towards a new sensory garden – and the community came together to help them fulfil their dreams.

Countrywide Farmers Store in the village agreed to lend its support by giving a number of items, including bark and herbs. And it donated the services of David Gray, Royal Horticultural Society judge, to help design and install the garden.

Parents and children worked alongside the local community to help dig, paint and clear the area. Using the grant money and David’s advice, the pre-school bought wooden barrels for fruit trees, wooden planters for the children to grow their own vegetables and a large selection for herbs and plants, with the intention of creating a relaxing 

Countrywide then donated a new water feature, compost, stepping stones, numerous bird feeders and feed, hanging baskets, wild flower seeds and decorative stones. David and Alex from Countrywide Farmers installed the new garden.

A pre-school spokesperson said: “We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed towards the success of our new garden. We love it.”

The garden was finished in time for the pre-school’s ‘graduation’ last month, when four year olds left to start at ‘big’ school in September. The spokesperson added: “It was a beautiful hot, sunny day and families came to the graduation ceremony and to have a picnic together before the summer holidays.

“Parents and children alike were delighted to see the new area and representatives from Heart of England, Coventry Building Society and Countrywide Farmers were there to see how the project has progressed.”