CHILDREN and staff at five schools in the area are celebrating after each received a £1,000 grant.

Cllr Linda Vijeh, who represents the Ilminster division on Somerset County Council, passed on funding designed to support ‘health and well-being’ to Swanmead School and Greenfylde First School in Ilminster, Ashill Primary School, Winsham Primary School and Neroche Primary School in Broadway.

Cllr Vijeh said: I took the decision to allocate £1,000 to each of the five schools in the division, which seemed to me to be the fairest way to go about things.”

At Swanmead, the cash will go towards developing ‘out of classroom’ activities.

Head teacher Mark Walker said: “With the constant drive for raising standards, often this key aspect can get lost in the demands placed onto schools.

“We’ll be using the money to further develop the onsite gardening, allotment and pond ecosystem resources we have, continuing to ensure that every one of our pupils has four hours of out-of-classroom gardening time as part of their curriculum during the school year.”

At Greenfylde, the money will buy more equipment for ‘forest school’ activities.

Head teacher Claire Oaten said: “We live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, so it’s vital to encourage the children to enjoy the outdoors.”

Ashill Primary School will use the windfall to buy a greenhouse and stage a competition to re-design its garden.

Acting head teacher Janet Woodman said: “The school runs a gardening club which is well supported by our 46 pupils, where the children grow, eat and sometimes sell (at harvest festival) fruit and vegetables.

“A greenhouse would be ideal to increase the range and variety of fruit and vegetables grown, and when the weather’s wet it will allow activities to continue.”

Winsham Primary School head teacher Sarah Stringer said: “Winsham currently has 37 pupils and plans to use the grant to boost funds already raised, an impressive £6,000, towards the re-development of what’s currently quite a bare playground area.

“A small committee, with strong pupil involvement, has been set up to consider the installation of fixed equipment, along with ‘trails’ to encourage children to exercise more.

“This will not only benefit their physical fitness, but also their emotional wellbeing and social skills.”

At Neroche, the money will help improve play provision for organised games at lunchtimes.

Head teacher Connel Boyle said: “This money will be well-used in buying new play equipment for the children, from traditional bats and balls to explorative role play resources for them to create their own special stories, worlds and characters.”