A giant fundraising campaign has begun for a very special school.
Parents, staff and friends of Longley School in Lowerhouses need to raise over £200,000 to make their dream of a large adventure playground and state of the art sensory rooms come true.
Businesses and the local community are now being asked by the Friends of Longley School group if they can help the good cause for the Dog Kennel Bank site, which is needed to help better support the different sensory and social needs of its 130 pupils.
The project follows a change to Longley School, which has become a specialist autistic school.
Themed areas with climbing frames, sand pits, tunnels, slides, a ball park and trampolines will all be included in the “sensory and physical development garden”, which will be built on one of the current outdoor areas of the school.
Quiet areas and a safe cycling zone will also be created, where students will be able to ride bikes that use bluetooth to enable them to listen to music at the same time.
Zoe Gleadall, parent support advisor, is a member of the Friends group, which was formed last November.
She said: “We started the campaign because these things are not catered for within the school budget from the local community.
“At the moment, our outdoor facilities are pretty sparse.
“We want to provide somewhere which is physically challenging but safe, where our pupils can climb, clamber and crawl and much more.
“We also need somewhere where they can interact with their peers.
“The design we have for the garden is amazing.
“We are currently getting proposals from companies for the sensory room work, with one idea being a plain room with a big screen, speakers and lots of lights.
“It’s worth spending the money because we need appropriate sensory resources that are really long lasting.”
So far, £1,000 has been raised by businesses.
“We’ve done really well in a short space of time”, said Zoe.
“We’ve already received cheques from Yorkshire Building Society, WT JOhnson, and Thornton and Ross and have raised money ourselves through school events.”
Children on the autistic spectrum aged five to 19, along with existing students with other needs, will benefit from the proposed facilities.
Talking about the focus on autistic children, Zoe said: “Lydgate is moving to Almondbury and there’s also Castle Hill so with those special schools nearby we decided to specialise so we can provide specific care for those on the autistic spectrum.
“From September we will offer post-16 education because it’s important for their transition into adulthood and they will learn key life skills.”
Any business or person who would like to donate to the cause should email firstname.lastname@example.org .