Hartlepool’s shopping centre doing its bit to help wildlife - with a hand from creative children

Middleton Grange Centre Manager Mark Rycraft and pupils from Blackhall Colliery Primary School prepare to make the bird feeders
Middleton Grange Centre Manager Mark Rycraft and pupils from Blackhall Colliery Primary School prepare to make the bird feeders

Creative schoolchildren have helped a shopping centre to attract wildlife in an environmentally friendly way.

The Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in Hartlepool held a day where it encouraged children to make bird feeders.

Blackhall Colliery Primary School pupil Darcey Tomlinson shows off her finished bird feeder.

Blackhall Colliery Primary School pupil Darcey Tomlinson shows off her finished bird feeder.

Bosses invited a group of students to help the centre decorate its grounds and were thrilled at the response they got.

The 30 pupils from Year 5 of Blackhall Colliery Primary School built the simple bird feeders using recycled plastic bottles, string and twigs.

Centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “We’ve been planning to install some bird feeders around the outside of the centre and the car park for some time and we thought local

youngsters might be interested in helping us build them.

We had a lot of fun making the feeders. Everyone joined in and it was great to talk with the children about the different kinds of birds we can expect to attract, such as blue tits and other common birds

Mark Rycraft, manager of the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

“We asked if some children from Blackhall wanted to help us, and happily a full class of nine and ten-year-olds were up to the challenge.”

Mr Rycraft turned a unit at the centre into a teaching room for the morning, where the children used old plastic bottles to build the bird feeders.

He added: “We had a lot of fun making the feeders. Everyone joined in and it was great to talk with the children about the different kinds of birds we can expect to attract, such as blue tits and other common birds.”

Following the morning of building and decorating, the feeders were filled with bird seed and placed all around the outside of the shopping centre – including in and around the car park areas.

Mr Rycraft added: “The children also took some with them for the school grounds, and we’re hoping the RSPB at Saltholme will also be able to make use of some of them.”

Joanna Clark, headteacher of Blackhall Colliery Primary School, said the children were thrilled to have been able to help the centre build the bird feeders.

“Learning about our environment is very important, and so to be able to get involved in making our surroundings more attractive was great for the children.

“As well as learning about how we can re-use materials in such positive ways, it was fascinating to hear about the wildlife in the area and know that we played a part in attracting the birds.”