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Archbishop of York opens countryside classroom thanks to Tesco Bags of Help

Friday 5th May 2017

An outdoor classroom and countryside area for children of St Mary’s Church of England Primary School has today, Friday 5 May, been opened by the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, thanks to Tesco.

The Beverley based, voluntary controlled school was awarded £10,000 through Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative to fund the outdoor classroom.

The outdoor learning area has an outdoor classroom, wildlife pond and woodland area and will be used regularly by all pupils as part of the curriculum. It provides an outstanding place to learn about environmental and wildlife issues.

Members of the Eco-Beavers Club at St Mary’s wrote to the Archbishop last year asking if he would come and bless the area they have set aside in the school grounds to celebrate. As part of the dedication service, the children wrote prayers on ribbons which were tied to the trees and lit candles as symbols of peace which were floated on the pond. 

The Archbishop of York, said: “It is a delight to be able to go into schools and see the pleasure and excitement the outdoors can bring to children’s lives.  Being able to learn in the great outdoors brings a different dimension to the school day.  We all would benefit from connecting more with the world around us and seeing the beauty that God has created, taking time to find quiet spaces which help us to connect with God so that our lives can be enriched.”

The official opening was attended by local Tesco Beverley community champion, David Ryley and the Archbishop of York, as well as local parents and children of the school.

The Bags of Help initiative was rolled out in Tesco stores across the country last year, with the supermarkets customers able to vote in store to decide which community group or project should receive a share of a funding pot.

Elizabeth Hart, outdoor learning co-ordinator at St Mary’s Primary School, said: “The whole school has been looking forward to the Archbishop’s visit and we’re honoured to have this amazing resource which everyone can benefit from, thanks to the Bags of Help Grant from Tesco. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed.”

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered more than £27million to thousands of projects up and down the UK.

Mark Thomas, Corporate Affairs Manager for the North of England at Tesco, said: “This is a great example of the local community working together! St Mary’s Primary School already has a great relationship with its local Tesco store so it is great to see this project now opened and being used and enjoyed by the school, showing first-hand how a Bags of Help grant can help transform the communities which we serve.

 “This is just the beginning for Bags of Help and we are hugely excited for the future as the scheme continues to grow and help even more groups across the UK.”

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Bags of Help is expected to help around 7,000 projects receive vital funding every year.

The grants are awarded to groups who are seeking to use and develop outdoor spaces in ways that will benefit their local community.

Three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded grants each month.

Customers are able to vote for a Bags of Help project every month in store using a blue token given to them at the check-out.

Anyone can nominate a project for Bags of Help funding at any time – whether it’s Tesco customers, colleagues or the community groups themselves. Just ask in store for more information or visit the Bags of Help website, visit www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp/

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