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Vibrant Schools

MORE than 50 students have created a vibrant art wall and growing area as part of a project to transform empty spaces.

Pupils from years 7, 8 and 9 at St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School transformed a previously disused area at their Berrys Lane grounds into somewhere where students can relax and work in 12 weeks.

The Vibrant Schools project is designed to educate the pupils about eating healthily, growing and nurturing, but also about the importance of working together collectively to achieve positive outcomes.

Students took part in a series of workshops to design and build planters for flowers, fruit and vegetables. They also measured the spaces and performed risk assessments in order for them to actually build and install them.

Head teacher, Catherine Twist said: “We’ve known for some time that natural landscapes in urban areas can affect how people feel. It reduces stress and sadness, lifts the mood and makes us feel better.

“We are proud of our students’ work they have undertaken, it is fitting that as we approach the great feast of Easter we celebrate phase one of our Vibrant Schools project.

“It is also good to celebrate those vibrant people who are no longer with us.

“There are lovely artistic tributes to those members of our St Cuthbert’s family who are no longer with us and it’s good that their memory lives on in our art wall.”

“I would like to the team from HYPE who have helped our students with this project and also Nonconform who have helped each student realise their ideas in the artwork.

“Two of the expressions chosen by the students to have included on the wall were ‘to treat others as you’d like to be treated’ and ‘being yourself’.

“I can think of no better phrases that sum up the culture and climate of our school”.

Matthew Houghton, Managing Director of HYPE Merseyside commented: “From the first day we delivered the consultation event, we knew this project was going to be a success due to the students’ initial engagement. As the project and tasks have grown each week as have the students’ skills, experience and confidence. The students’ ideas and creativity has made the project what it is today.

Providing the students with a real life project whereby their input is needed weekly at sessions has enabled them to excel and step up into new found roles within the groups. All students have a sense of ownership to those areas in school now and can relate to a range of tasks and skills they have undertaken in a short space of time.

We are looking forward to enhancing the next Vibrant Schools areas in school to continue the trend the current students have started”.

Students involved in the project said…

Daniel: I feel that my self-esteem and confidence has grown and that I have made lots of new friends with students that I had not previously spoken to.

Dominic: I now understand more about our responsibilities to the community and environmental matters.

Frankie: I am proud of the new skills that I have learned in construction, planting and growing.

Tom: My favourite activities was using the tools to build the planters as it was very challenging. None of the activities we did were too easy or too difficult and every one of them taught us new skills or enhanced them.

Ella: We are all really proud of how our thoughts and ideas contributed to the shaping of this project and how this work will be here for everyone to enjoy for a long time.