ENCOURAGING FRIENDSHIP AND INCLUSION ACROSS SLOUGH’S SCHOOLS

Community Benefits  |  14 November 2017

SUR installs Buddy Benches at primary schools within the borough

As part of its wider community engagement programme and to encourage inclusion and friendships across the borough’s primary schools, Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) has been busy installing Buddy Benches across three schools in Slough this month. James Elliman, Claycotts and St Mary’s have all benefitted from the benches, which have taken pride of place in the schools’ playgrounds.

The colourful benches, which have been funded by SUR, provide a great place for children to sit and chat to each other at break times and play times, as well as acting as an effective tool to encourage children to reach out to others if they are feeling lonely or isolated. The idea behind the benches is that children on their own, who may be struggling to find some friends to play with, can sit on the bench to let other pupils and even staff/supervisors know how they feel.

The benches, which have been made from recycled plastic bottles are not only environmentally friendly, but they are easy to maintain and can be purchased in a variety of colours – helping to brighten up the corner of any playground.

Ged Humphries, Training and Skills Co-ordinator at Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) said; “The Buddy Bench is a great initiative. It provides a simple but effective way to encourage children to reach out to others, and to be both aware and compassionate towards fellow classmates and how they may be feeling. It’s fantastic that we have been able to install these benches across three primary schools.”

“We are delighted with our new buddy bench, which is colourful and attractive. As an eco-school we particularly like the fact that the bench is made from recycled bottles. Children can be seen using the bench every day, whether there to find a friend to play with, chat to an adult on duty or there with their own friends for a chat. It is a super addition to our outside space.” Rachel Cross, Headteacher, St Mary’s School.

Slough Urban Renewal (SUR) is currently working on numerous projects across the borough, from delivering new school extensions to creating new and improved leisure facilities and new housing developments.

Councillor Madhuri Bedi, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “All our schools are excellent at encouraging kindness, friendship and inclusion in their pupils and these benches now give the children themselves an opportunity to step up, reach out and help fellow pupils who may be feeling alone.

“This is an example of the added extras our SUR partnership brings as not only are they providing state of the art new buildings at these schools, but adding little touches which improve the emotional as well as the physical environment.”

Slough Urban Renewal is a 50:50 joint venture between Slough Borough Council and Morgan Sindall Investments Limited. Its purpose is to deliver ambitious objectives to transform the borough of Slough. For more information visit www.slough-thinkingforward.co.uk