When water voles set up home in the playground of St Benedict’s Primary School, a contractor working on City Deal surface water management projects in the local area stepped in to help, ensuring the children still had exciting outdoor play space to enjoy.
In a bid to create play facilities for the pupils whilst ensuring the water voles, which are a protected species, were not disturbed; contractor RJ McLeod started working on a plan in conjunction with the council and their own ecological specialists to map the water vole burrows and identify which areas of the playground could be used by the children.
Working in partnership with the Easterhouse based primary school, RJ McLeod set about creating an eco-friendly obstacle course made from recycled tyres, large pipes, timber and other materials. An area prone to waterlogging within the school grounds was also addressed. To further enhance the space available, in conjunction with Sweco, RJ McLeod provided mobile white boards to assist with outdoor learning as well as delivering civil engineering careers events for the older pupils to inspire their future choices.
Geraldine Parkinson, Headteacher of St Benedict’s Primary School said: “Coming from our whole school ‘Learning Circles’, the children voted for different games and activities for the playground, with the most popular choice being an obstacle course. How fortuitous when RJ McLeod, working in the local area, called to offer their services. The design process, guided by the children and led by the engineers resulted in our obstacle course being embedded within the grass area of the school. Its popularity necessitates a teacher’s favourite – a timetable!”
The popularity of the obstacle course with the school children is clear for all to see:
“The obstacle course is fun and it helps us with PE.” – Kayden (age 7)
“The obstacle course is good fun and there are lots of different parts to it and we can make up different games.” – Laila (age 9)
“The obstacle course is great, everyone can play on it and it keeps us occupied during playtime.” – Ayden (age 10)
Christina McKitrick, CSR Manager, RJ McLeod (Contractors) Ltd said:”With our support, the pupils of St Benedict’s and the water voles reached a compromise where the children have gained an enhanced and more exciting outdoor space and the water voles’ habitat has been protected.”
The South East of Glasgow, and Cardowan Surface Water Management Plans have both been delivered through MGSDP City Deal investment. These schemes will reduce flood risks and impacts in their respective areas, improve water quality, bring greenspace improvements and increase drainage capacity.
Both the UK and Scottish Governments are providing the Glasgow City Region local authorities with £500million each in grant funding for the Glasgow City Region City Deal.