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Wigley Community Fund chips in to transform Forest School

A Forest School which brings Princethorpe children closer to nature has been given a new lease of life thanks to the generous support of local Warwickshire companies.   

The Forest School at Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School is held every Tuesday and provides children with hands-on experiences of the natural world, and is also used for a summer gardening club.

However, large parts of the area were left out-of-bounds and unsuitable for children due to swathes of overgrown foliage and rotten fencing which had to be removed.

Friends Of Our Lady’s School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) – which supports the Forest School and other pupil experiences – sought to fix up the space and find replacement fencing to ensure the area could continue to be used safely.

Parents banded together to help cut the overgrown site back, but initial quotes found replacement fencing would have cost thousands of pounds.

The PTA applied to The Wigley Community Fund (WCF) for help with funding and was told it would just cost £380.25 – funded entirely through the WCF at a reduced rate which was offered by The Wigley Group’s supply chain member, PB Forestry and Landscaping.

The donation forms part of a £5,000 funding pot in the latest round of the WCF, which has been set up by Warwickshire property firm The Wigley Group to support causes within a five-mile radius of its HQ in Stockton.

Kirsty Maclean, who runs the PTA, said: “The fences help to keep children safe but it got to a point where it was so rotten, we had to remove it.

“We tried a number of companies and the first quote we had was about £5,000 and that would have completely wiped out our funds.

“But now, we can use that money for other things that the children need to support their education and give them a rounded school experience.

“It is fantastic and much safer for the children. The kids absolutely love it and we are really lucky to have that space. We are so thankful to The Wigley Group and PB Forestry and Landscaping for their help.”

As well as the fencing, PB Forestry also donated wood chipping to give it a smart new look, receiving support from Flecknoe Fields Farms and B Line Plant to get the materials into the Forest School. Clarke & Strong Ltd also helped by providing weed matting.

Philip Bett, Managing Director at PB Forestry and Landscaping, said: “When The Wigley Group asked for our help, we quickly said yes. As a local company, it is great to give something back and I am really pleased we have all chipped in to help transform the Forest School for the children to enjoy.”

The latest round of the WCF has also seen £1,605 donated to Stockton Scouts to purchase a new mess tent, £323 given to Harbury Carnival towards acts at the carnival, £1,878 handed to Southam Community Minibus Association to fund running costs for one year, £323 to Stockton Rounders Club to purchase new training equipment, and a further £490 to Stockton Toddler Group to purchase new equipment.

James Davies, Chief Executive Officer at The Wigley Group, added: “The Forest School is a great opportunity for children to learn about the natural environment and I am delighted we have all been able to support them in getting it back up to scratch, and I would also like to thank our friends at PB Forestry for their support and carrying out the work at a significantly reduced rate.

“Our Wigley Community Fund was set up to help great causes just like this in our local community, so it is our pleasure to have been able to help the school and the other recipients in our latest funding round.”

School headteacher Mrs Catherine Burch added: “The staff and students of Our Lady’s are immensely grateful to The Wigley Group and PB Forestry and Landscaping for their generosity in funding the project and giving up their time and resources to the school.

“We now have an amazing multifunctional space that not only looks great, but is also safe and secure. In the short time that the fencing has been erected it has served as a venue for Forest School, nature club and lunchtime book club. I know that it will continue to bring joy and enhance our learning environment for many years. Thank you!”

Applications for the next round of funding open in September, with details available on