Our amazing apprentices have just put the final finishing touches on a special build for a local school. They pushed through the scorching temperatures last month to build a new forest school for Somerlea Park junior and infant schools in Alfreton.

Futures approached the schools and offered to build the classroom last year, but due to lockdown restrictions the children had to wait a little longer.

The apprentices, who are training in Futures’ repairs academy, all got involved in building the wooden structure which provides shelter while children learn about outdoor pursuits.

“Looking after the environment is essential to Futures’ work. We’re proud to take part in this project, based in the heart of our community. Our apprentices really enjoyed building the forest school, which is near many Futures properties. I’m sure children from the local area will enjoy learning about the outdoors in the forest school”, Lee Pratt, Repairs Academy Manager at Futures said.

Outdoor classrooms help children learn about the countryside, with lessons on wildlife, plants and trees, and practical activities like lighting fires with a flint and steel. Forest school leader, Mr Waller, who teaches the outdoor lessons says:

"The children and staff at Somerlea Park junior school and at Somercotes infants school are really grateful to Futures and Travis Perkins for building this fantastic shelter. It will make a huge difference to the children's experience during forest school sessions and I'm sure we will use it for other activities as well in the future. It is an excellent resource. Thank you!"

Futures team members and Dan Parkins from Travis Perkins, who kindly donated the materials for the build, were there to accept a plaque commemorating the project from the school children.

"All of us at Travis Perkins Ripley are extremely pleased with the outcome of this project and as soon as we were asked to get involved we jumped at the chance to give something back to the local community. Our partnership with Futures continues to grow and we are also proud to play our part to help the apprentices gain experience too. All in all, it was a great project to be involved in and we hope the pupils enjoy using the facility for many more years to come", Dan Parkins, Travis Perkins, commented.

When schoolchildren return to school in September the forest school will open for its first lessons teaching pupils about the outdoors in the coming Autumn months.