24 July 2013
An ambitious community project in Sheffield, designed to give a primary school’s courtyard a much needed makeover, has been made possible with the assistance of Brett Landscaping.
Pipworth Community Primary School is located in one of the most disadvantaged areas of Sheffield. The local education authority had applied for national funding to rebuild the school, but was told that funds would likely not be available for another 10 years, leading Pipworth to look into redecorating two specific areas: the school hall and an outdoor courtyard.
Project 180 – the community outreach wing of Sheffield’s Hope City church – was approached to assist based on its passion for regeneration projects and its close ties to the school. Pipworth was one of the first schools the church worked with, assisting with afterschool clubs and self-esteem classes.
“We are committed to helping create better environments for local people, and the thought of Pipworth not getting some much-needed TLC was not an option,” explains Ali Bianchi, director of Project 180. “So we hatched a plan to complete the work in a single day, asking for companies to donate materials free of charge to get around the issue of funding.”
Project 180 member Dan Houghton, a landscape architect by profession, was tasked with creating new designs for the courtyard and heading up the project on the day. Dan turned to Brett Landscaping – a regular supplier – for assistance. While a total of over £15,000 was donated by a number of local and national companies, Brett Landscaping was responsible for the single biggest contribution comprising block paving and decorative aggregates.
“We have always recognised the importance of landscaping in terms of building vibrant, happy communities, and we were bowled over by the scale and sincerity of Project 180’s vision,” comments Andrew Gill, marketing manager for Brett Landscaping.
The makeover took place at the end of June, when 150 volunteers grouped at Pipworth School for a full day. In transforming the courtyard, Dan’s team built a new path using Omega Brindle Concrete Block Paving and Golden Gravel from Brett Landscaping before completing the project by adding raised beds and a greenhouse for planting vegetables.
When the pupils returned to school the following Monday, the quads and hall had been completely transformed, and the children were able to play in the hitherto unopened outdoor areas immediately.
“The effect of the makeover has been radical and instantaneous,” reports Ali Bianchi, director of Project 180. “The school mentioned that they had recently cancelled the gardening club due to lack of facilities. However, since the renovation of the quads, they have not only reinstated the original club but put on a second to cope with demand!”
Project 180 focuses on regenerating disadvantaged communities in Sheffield. While previous makeovers had transformed a small public park, a shop and a single mother’s home, Pipworth represented by far the organisation’s most ambitious project to date.
“We simply couldn’t have achieved this without the generous support of our sponsors, and we are eternally grateful to Brett Landscaping for donating so many materials free of charge,” adds Ali Bianchi.