Angmering smallholding project backed by Persimmon Homes

A smallholding project being developed at The Angmering School has received £1,000 from housebuilder Persimmon Homes.

Deputy head Matthew Whatford wanted to find a way for students to benefit from learning outside the classroom and his vision has grown, in partnership with Arun Youth Projects.

He said the effects of lockdown on students’ mental health was evident and the smallholding would be one way to help them.

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Sussex Police, Angmering Parish Council and East Preston Parish Council have already given grants and now Persimmon Homes Thames Valley has agreed a donation as part of its Community Champions scheme.

The Angmering School head teacher Simon Liley, left, and deputy head Matthew Whatford at the smallholding with pupils Esme, Sam and Toby

Rachel Faulkner, sales director, said: “This is such an exciting project that we were more than happy to donate to – and exactly the sort of community scheme that Community Champions was set up to support.”

The Angmering School and Arun Youth Projects smallholding will benefit all young people in Angmering and the wider community, as they work on growing things and, eventually, tending small animals.

Mr Whatford said: “We are trying to set up a therapeutic smallholding provision to provide intervention and a curriculum offer to young people in key stages one to four, in order to bring them into the site from around the area.

“It is clear from research done by Young Minds and West Sussex County Council, as well as our own experience of the school year so far, that many young people have had their mental health needs emerge or become exacerbated by lockdown and we aim for this to be part of the remedy.

“We are establishing a poly tunnel, a small cabin teaching space, a small animal enclosure, raised beds for growing, a sensory garden and some forest school activities.

“We hope in due course to become a completely independent trust, with local schools and councils as partners to make this project more viable. But in the meantime, our grateful thanks go to Persimmon for their financial support.”

The Community Champions initiative match funds two good causes each month, up to the value of £1,000. For details on how to apply, visit www.persimmonhomes.com/charity

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