School launches its £200,000 appeal

Alfreton Park School Need New Swimming Pool.'Rosemary Mackenzie (Head left), and Pool Manager Margaret Clarke.

Alfreton Park School Need New Swimming Pool.'Rosemary Mackenzie (Head left), and Pool Manager Margaret Clarke.

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A CAMPAIGN has been launched to raise £200,000 for a new building to house a current swimming pool at Alfreton Park Community Special School.

The Let’s Raise The Roof project also aims to provide funding for a walkway between the existing pool and school buildings and will see concerts and sponsored events staged to raise funds.

A scheme to build a brand new special school on the site of Alfreton Grange, which would have catered for 90 students, was axed during Government cuts to the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme last July.

Headteacher Rosemary Mackenzie said: “The swimming pool looks like a Nissen hut and a greenhouse! The plastic roof lets water in and it is falling apart. But it’s used non-stop.”

The school says the pool is a firm favourite among its students and is used by all classes to provide educational play and therapy. Other schools and community groups also use it, while parent and toddler groups run four sessions there each week.

Francine Franklin, chairman of the school’s governors, said: “The pool has served the school well but the time has come when there is no option but to replace the building with a new one so that the pool can continue to be used.”

The school, which currently teaches 66 children with learning difficulties, will also receive more children in need of special care because of medical improvements there. The school was originally built in 1968 as a junior training centre before disabled children with complex learning difficulties were allowed to go toschool. Because of this the rooms only measure five metres by six metres.

Rosemary added: “Because the building was built for care rather than for school, lots of the building isn’t fit for purpose. It wasn’t built as classrooms but as sociable units. They were built for having a nice time and nursing. But times have changed and the size is our biggest challenge.”

The first fund-raising event is being held on April 15 at the Edgefold Club in Matlock when duo Saxy perform.

Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets, costing £4, can be obtained by calling 07754 565578.