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Playful engineers go to the aid of Nottingham primary school

Press release   •   Sep 19, 2016 09:10 BST

Openreach engineers from Arnold View children

The playground at a Nottinghamshire primary school has been given a new lease of life, largely thanks to the hard work and generosity of engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business.

Around a dozen engineers devoted hours of their spare time as well as donating equipment to help create a better playground at Arnold View Primary School.

When the schoolchildren returned from their summer holidays they found a playground, which included a new tractor climbing frame, mud kitchen and revamped playhouses.

Helen Usher, a teacher in the foundation unit at Arnold View, said: “We are so grateful to Lee and his team of volunteers for all of their time and hard work, over the summer.Our playground looks amazing and the children absolutely love their new equipment.”

Lee Savelio, a customer service engineer with Openreach, has a four year old daughter at the school. He said: “When I heard the school were looking for help to revamp the playground, it made sense to get involved. I knew Openreach used some of the materials they were looking for so asked my manager for permission to get involved. We were able to donate old pallets and cable reels that were no longer needed by the business, but were just what the school was looking for.

“There were around a dozen of us involved and we spent many hours of our own time working on the project. We’re particularly proud of the tractor climbing frame that started out as a sketch by one of the teachers. When we could see what they wanted, we put our heads together and worked out how to make it happen. It’s a great legacy to leave with the school and I’m sure it will be enjoyed by the children for many years to come.”

The idea for a new tractor climbing frame came from a teacher at Arnold View and a plan was quickly put together to make it happen. It has two full size tractor tyres that were sourced by one of the Openreach volunteers.

The mud kitchen took around two weeks to complete as every wooden pallet had to be checked for old nails, before being sanded down. A mud kitchen is recognised as important for helping children experience the feel of different textures and materials with their fingers. It’s designed in the same way as an outdoor kitchen, but children use mud, leaves, twigs and other foliage to make mud pies.

And two existing outdoor playhouses at the school were completely refreshed and revamped, including a new floor being fitted in one of them.

Owen Moody, BT’s regional director for the East Midlands, said: “I would like to congratulate Lee and his colleagues for this fantastic effort. They should be really proud of everything they have achieved and it’s clear they’ve put a lot of their own time into making this happen. It’s nice to see things like this happen and the end result looks absolutely brilliant.”

Volunteering is just one part of the support BT gives to charities and community groups each year. In a typical year[1] in the East Midlands, BT people provide nearly £670,000 of in kind support and assistance, some 2,100 days.

[1]The Social Study 2015’ – measuring the economic impact of BT across the UK