A PRIMARY school has expanded its ‘forest school’ programme after a donation from a housebuilder. 

Blandford St Mary Primary School has been handed £500 to fund new equipment for the after-school forestry club. 

The money has been used to buy den-building equipment such as rope, sticks, clamps and tarpaulin, waterproof overalls for the children, outdoor storage and tools for activities. 

Housebuilder Bellway Wessex, which has a large housing project in Blandford, donated the money to the school. 

Lauren Pidgeon, forest school leader at the school, said: “Forest school has been proven to improve children’s mental health and it also provides skills which can be transferred to other areas of their learning, for example their ability to manage emotions. 

“The money that Bellway has so generously gifted our school has allowed us to develop our Forest School programme.

"We have been provided with a helping hand to obtain resources that will contribute to the success of the forest school.” 

Emily Putnam, sales manager for Bellway Wessex, added: “A forest school is quite a unique extra-curricular activity and it was wonderful to see the children making the most of the equipment we have funded. 

“Ecology and sustainability are at the heart of our ‘Better with Bellway’ strategy so supporting a project such as this seemed a natural fit.

"It’s fantastic that the staff at Blandford St Mary Primary School are investing so much time in helping the pupils connect with the natural world.”