Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Iris Andersen officially opened a new ‘Garden Theatre’ facility at the Anton Infant and Junior schools in Andover on Tuesday 22nd September. The rain held off long enough for the ribbon cutting by the Mayor and for the children to enjoy exploring their new outdoor space.
Provided by Anton Friends Parent Teacher Association with funds raised over a number of events generously supported by parents, pupils and staff of both schools, the new facility is a shared learning and enrichment area and will provide a wide range of uses, from ‘buddy reading’ through to drama presentations and choir performances.
The Mayor, who joined the children on the new all-weather surface, said: “How wonderful it will be for the children to be able to perform in this open garden theatre and such a lot of fundraising went on to make this possible by the PTA and also with Community Grants”
The project was initially started with a Hampshire County Council community grant of £500 and was supported via Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service by The Prince’s Trust community project, a team of local young adults aged 16-25 who worked together over 12 weeks to improve their skills and confidence by clearing the heavily overgrown and disused area ready for development.
PTA Chair, Amanda Doig said: “Everyone involved has worked hard to transform the old pond into a flexible new area for both schools to enjoy and which will be further developed over time by the wonderful junior school gardening club.”
Scandor Landscape Contractors Ltd provided the design and build for the project and Contracts Manager Matt Davidson was delighted to attend the official opening. Also joining staff, pupils and parents for the event were Councillors David Drew and Geoff McBride, along with former infant school head teacher, Matthew Lowden, who were all pleased to see the project come to fruition.
It is hoped that the Garden Theatre can also be used out of hours by local community groups and the PTA plans to use it for further fundraising events in the future. [Photograph by Paul Curtis]