Revamped woodland area at Leamington school will be haven for people with dementia

Liz Kershaw re-opens Painting's Plantation at Campion School. She was joined by pupils, Leamington Mayor Cllr Heather Calver, Campion headteacher Jassa Panesar and others as she cut the ribbon for the woodland area.
Liz Kershaw re-opens Painting's Plantation at Campion School. She was joined by pupils, Leamington Mayor Cllr Heather Calver, Campion headteacher Jassa Panesar and others as she cut the ribbon for the woodland area.

People with dementia and their carers will now be able to seek calm and relaxation at a revamped woodland area in the grounds of a Leamington secondary school.

Painting’s Plantation, named in honour of the late actor and Leamington resident Norman Painting OBE of The Archers BBC radio show fame, was officially re-opened at Campion School today (July 19).

Painting's Plantation at Campion School.

Painting's Plantation at Campion School.

BBC presenter and journalist Liz Kershaw, who is a patron of Age UK Warwickshire like Mr Painting was, cut the ribbon at the event.

She said: “I can’t think of a better way of spending a summer’s morning than opening this beautiful woodland.

“I have fond vivid memories of my primary school teachers taking us into adjacent bluebell woods for lessons on hot summer’s days.

“So I know the children of Campion School will love this woodland now and treasure the experience for ever. And it will be of great benefit in evoking memories amongst older people with dementia. “I know the team at Age UK Warwickshire can’t wait to show people the plantation.

“It will be such a treat. And now Campion School have another resource to help children love trees.

“We are so grateful for all of the time and commitment of local volunteers and companies who have made this happen.”

Volunteers from Age UK Warwickshire, aided by teams from businesses spent the winter and spring with shovels and wheelbarrows, clearing overgrown areas and putting down new, safer, paths and re-creating a woodland pond .

The pond alone required 10,000 litres of water to be refilled, which had to be brought to the site in a huge tanker. The volunteers will continue to maintain the woodland once it is re-opened. The revamp was supported with grants from Leamington Town Council, Age UK Warwickshire.

Hintons Nursery in Warwick worked in an advisory role and builder AC Lloyd provided manpower and machinery for the project.

The woodland, which also provides an environmental education resource for children, contains a mixture of various trees and bushes, walkways and sheltered seating areas.

The pond and sensory garden are new features of the 1.5 acre scheme.

Jassa Panesar, headteacher of Campion, said: “We are very grateful for this refurbished woodland area in the grounds of our school. It will continue to be a living resource for teaching, especially in the areas of the environment and science. And we are especially delighted that now, people with dementia with their carers will have access to this haven. We would like to thank all those involved for their hard work in all weathers which has enabled this woodland to have a new lease of life.”