Brightening up school

Cotsford Primary School pupils (left to right) Fionn Coates, Emilie Evans, Ellie Hudson and Abi Smith with (left to right) artists Lyndsey-Dee Usher, Graham Cleland and Emma Spuhler from Place 2Be. Picture by FRANK REID
Cotsford Primary School pupils (left to right) Fionn Coates, Emilie Evans, Ellie Hudson and Abi Smith with (left to right) artists Lyndsey-Dee Usher, Graham Cleland and Emma Spuhler from Place 2Be. Picture by FRANK REID

YOUNGSTERS have had designs on brightening up a hut at their school that provides a range of services to help their wellbeing.

Pupils at Cotsford Junior School, in Horden, have been working with local graffiti artist Graham Cleland to bring the Place2B hut at their school to life.

The hut is set apart from the school and is the base from which pupils access emotional and mental health support from children’s charity Place2Be, to help them cope with a wide range of problems such as bullying, bereavement, domestic violence, family breakdown, and neglect.

Graham helped 15 pupils from the Third Street-based school to create designs for him to graffiti on to the Place2Be hut.

The scheme was part of a scheme run through the Connections service, provided by The Forge, a participatory arts organisation.

Emma Spuhler, Place2Be school project manager at the school, said: “We are so grateful to The Forge for linking us up with Graham through their Connections service.

“The children had a huge amount of fun creating their designs, and were so excited seeing their designs brought to life on the hut.

“The Place2Be hut is a space, away from school, where pupils can access support to help them cope with problems.

“This benefits not only the individual children who seek support, but the whole school as individual children’s issues can also disrupt others around them.

“Place2Be also provides valuable supports to the pupils’ parents and school staff.”

The Forge’s executive director Tony Harrington added: “We set up Connections because we want to make it easy and affordable for all schools to have an artist working in their school. “There is no doubt that artists working in schools can enhance the curriculum and make school more enjoyable for children.”

Place2Be works in nine schools across County Durham.

Cotsford Junior School was the first to take on Place2Be’s services nine years ago.