Ashgrove School unveil £30,000 outdoor gym as part of pupils' 'sensory diet'
9:47am Tuesday 1st October 2013 in News
ASHGROVE School have unveiled a new outdoor gym, and plans for a state-of-the-art interactive climbing wall.
The £30,000 facility features 12 pieces of equipment which focus on all aspects of fitness, from a cross-trainer for cardiovascular endurance to a lat pull-down for back strength and a pull-up apparatus, helping build arm muscles.
The gym – which will serve a range of functions for pupils at the specialist school for autism – was funded by a £7,500 grant from Barry business Dow Corning, plus £15,000 raised by staff who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2011, and a further £7,500 from the school Parents and Friends Association (PFA).
School occupational therapist Colette Shapley, said: “The new gym will for part of the pupils’ ‘sensory diet’.
“We have identified what equipment a pupil will need if they are agitated, and what they will need if they are too calm and need to become more alert.
“This will help them return to the classroom and learn to their optimal ability.”
Kilimanjaro trekkers Dave Howell, Sarah Lewis and Richard Boucher were all on hand to see pupils, Tudor Burrell and Kyle Holmes, put the resistance equipment from The Great Outdoor Gym Company to good use.
Dow Corning team leader Johanne Stacey-Davies said: “We were looking to support worthwhile local schemes and community initiatives and have developed a great relationship with Ashgrove School.”
Dow Corning have also donated £10,000 towards an interactive DigiWall.
Claire Sourlis, deputy headteacher, said: “The DigiWall is a hybrid between a climbing wall and a computer game you play with your whole body. DigiWall's unique balance between eyes, ears and body gives experiences built on both physical activity and multiple senses. This combination creates rich experiences and new learning opportunities. The school will be the first in the UK to have one.”
A further £30,000 is still needed to make the project a reality.
But, like the DigiWall, assistant head teacher Keri Pritchard said the outdoor gym equipment would compliment the existing facilities available at Ashgrove.
“Thank you to Dow Corning and everyone else who made this possible,” she said.
The school are considering renting out the equipment on weekends to local fitness classes.
When the school is knocked down to become part of Penarth Learning Community next year, the outdoor gym will be relocated to another part the new super-school site.
For more information about renting the use of the outdoor gym, or to donate to the DigiWall scheme, contact the school on 02920 704212.