UK Land Estates brushes up and heads back to school

A squad of volunteers swapped their office for a Gateshead playground this month [May 2024], brushing up on their decorating skills to brighten things up for youngsters.

UK Land Estates has supported South Street Primary School, in Deckham, with funding of £6,000 to help fund improvements to the outdoor play equipment, and the business was keen to help further.

Finance Director, Hazel Marchant, liaised with the school to organise a day of volunteering which saw a squad from UK Land Estates paint fencing, gates and a storage container.

“As a community-focused business, we strive to be good neighbours to the schools and organisations around us,” said Hazel.

“We are proud to sponsor South Street’s Greggs Breakfast Club, which ensures over 40 children get a hearty and healthy start to the day and when we heard of the impact Headteacher, Lynne Wales, had achieved in her 20 months at the school, we were keen to do more.

“Painting the fences and storage containers was a lovely experience, and everyone was so supportive as we worked – we even got lunch! We all look forward to working with the school in the future.”

Lynne has taken the school from “requires improvement” to a “good” Ofsted rating. With business manager, Anna Wynn, she has overseen significant physical and cultural change, replacing flooring, repainting walls, removing clutter and generally brightening up the school.

“We take pride in the work we have done,” said Lynne. “We’ve opened-up indoor and outdoor space, created more light and natural light and decorated to make the whole school more inviting and welcoming, providing children with a calming environment in which to learn, relax and have fun.

“Behaviour, attainment and general wellbeing has improved with the changes we’ve made and the whole community is embracing the improvements.”

Anna added: “We have so much help from the community, and we’re so grateful to Hazel and the UK Land Estatesteam for sparing time to come and help us with the painting. It really adds to the environment, removing the worn old blue with a smart, calming green.

“Over 40% of our pupils don’t have English as a first language and some are children of refugees who are seeking sanctuary, so it’s vital we’re able to offer a welcoming and safe environment for them.”

The UK Land Estates painting team was made up of Hazel, accounts assistant Tracey Milne, asset management director David Finnigan and financial controller Marlane Brannan.

Lynne Hindmarch, of the Greggs Foundation, said: “We’re delighted when partners in our Breakfast Club programme go the extra mile. UK Land Estates supported one of our schools with an additional £6,000 in funding to help improve its outdoor area ahead of the summer. Staff even gave up time to paint the new outdoor space, which helps showcase the added value of the Breakfast Club programme, creating positive partnerships between schools and businesses looking to do more for schools in need a little extra help.”

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