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Youngsters at a Peterlee primary school are enjoying a new play space thanks to funding from one of the region’s largest providers of affordable housing.

Pupils at Howletch Lane Primary School have extra play opportunities with their new gravel pit, constructed through funding from County Durham Housing Group.

Children aged 4 to 5 are taking full advantage of the new amenities to learn all about teamwork and communication. County Durham Housing Group provided £500 through its ‘group grant’ funding programme to pay for materials in the new facility, which was built in-house by the highly-skilled school caretaking team.

More than 50 reception pupils each year are expected to benefit from the playtime addition, which also aims to help develop strength and coordination. County Durham Housing Group Funding Officer, Damian Pearson, said: “I’ve seen first-hand just how much the pupils at Howletch Lane have taken to their new gravel pit. They’re having a great time digging and measuring.

“This is a great project and it’s clearly made an immediate difference to the children. It’s exactly the kind of scheme that group grant was created to help.”

Howletch Lane Primary School Head Teacher, Helen Adair, said: “We are over the moon with our new gravel pit for the Reception class children and are extremely grateful to County Durham Housing Group for providing the funding. Budgets are tight for a lot of schools at the moment and we often have to cut back on all but essential spending on resources.

“The gravel pit is a very welcome addition to the outdoor play area for some of our youngest children. Not only is it great fun for the pupils but it also allows staff to enhance the teaching of basic skills such as counting, measuring and development of gross and fine motor skills.”

The application process for ‘group grant’ has been kept deliberately simple and funding decisions will be made monthly to ensure local groups are not waiting for lengthy periods to find out if they have been successful.

Full details of the group grant scheme are available at www.countydurhamhousinggroup.co.uk/groupgrant, by calling 0191 349 7777 or emailinggroupgrant@cdhg.co.uk

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