Selfless father transformed Carlogie Primary play area

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The plight of a primary school outdoor area was spotted by a selfless father who battled the elements to transform a dingy area into the perfect play space.

Jon Brierly, of Jon’s Garden Services, noticed the unusable area at his daughter’s school and took matters into his own hands.

Approaching the school he offered to convert the play area into a safe haven ideal for use by the additional support needs department and by all the pupils.

“I was mortified when I saw the area, you couldn’t have kids playing there so I took it on myself and said let’s get this done,” Jon said.

When Robertsons took over the school including the outdoor areas, they became too large for the school staff to manage on their own and some sections ran into disrepair.

New headteacher Amanda Cowie said: “When I was first asked I thought it would take years, but we have come back from the holidays and it is finished! I have never seen so many smiley faces and amazing reactions.”

Despite the gale force winds and torrential rain, Jon and his experienced helper, John McSharry, turned up to complete the project in their own time, through the October holidays.

A large adaptable shelter was built. Engaging sensory equipment finishes off the large open space.

Additional support needs teacher Carolyn Cheape said: “This area makes a huge difference to their daily routine, giving them access and allowing them to explore without constant adult supervision. It gives them freedom and independence but in a safe environment.”

A legion of community volunteers helped with materials, equipment and time, including: Turf donated by the Sturrock family and laid throughout the garden, volunteers from the Community Council repainted the planters, the chute was bought by the Parent Council as well as giving money to buy the storage shed, J.S Groundworks provided a digger to help clear the debris, DJ Laing provided skips at a reduced cost, Dave’s Garden Workshop built the shelter, Cotside Quarry provided materials such as topsoil and gravel, Turf and Stuff provided woodchips as well as help from the Theatre Club and Jeff Thoms-Slater.

“The school is extremely grateful for the hard work, time and effort that has been put into this project and can’t thank those who contributed to its success, enough,” said Ms Cowie.