Houghton school reopens after summer revamp

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A WEARSIDE school has opened its doors to the public after a summer makeover.

During the holidays, workmen transformed an unused area of Bernard Gilpin Primary School into community rooms with a kitchen area.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Robert Heron and his wife Juliana officially launched  the new Bernard Bear Toddler Group at Bernard Gilpin Primary School, Houghton, on Monday.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland Coun. Robert Heron and his wife Juliana officially launched the new Bernard Bear Toddler Group at Bernard Gilpin Primary School, Houghton, on Monday.

Now the school is planning to run a series of community events, including a weekly Bernard Bear Toddler Group, and a range of activities for older people in the Houghton area.

Ashley Salkeld, who is community/family manager at the Hall Lane school, said they have been working towards the launch of the community activities for a year and were delighted to launch it with the first toddler group meeting this week.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, Councillors Robert and Juliana Heron, went along to meet the staff, parents and youngsters to officially open the new community area and toddler group.

To celebrate the event there was face painting and a balloon artist, as well as a cake.

Ashley said: “We had a fantastic response from parents. Everyone was full of praise about it and said they would be back the following week. We had parents of children already in our school, but also some new families as well, which was great.

“We have been buying toys for months to suit the little ones from birth up to nursery age.”

She said the old staff room and first aid area were not being used to their full potential, so it was decided to transform the area for the community.

Ashley said staff are training to run events for elderly people, including a cafe, where those suffering from dementia and their carers can go and enjoy activities, such as singing and tea parties and also hear from visiting speakers.