We have helped a Sunderland school get more in touch with nature as Gentoo colleagues partnered with staff from energy, services and regeneration specialist Equans to plant more than 450 trees.
St John Bosco Catholic Primary School, in North Sunderland, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, has been teaching its students about biodiversity for a number of years with the end goal of becoming an environmentally friendly Forest School.
The school is next door to our multi-million-pound development Wellspring Park, which we are currently working on in partnership with Equans. The site team took the opportunity to use the Equans Tree Fund to donate both trees and volunteers to help make the goal a bit closer to completion.
Despite the conditions, more than a dozen volunteers from both organisations gave up their time to plant the trees in St John Bosco’s field. As well as planting a significant portion of trees along the fence line – to provide a bit more protection from the elements – trees were also strategically planted in circles to provide extra coverage for the soon-to-be-placed fire circle. The fire circle will become a key resource for teachers and students to learn more about the natural environment outside of the classroom.
The work comes as Wellspring Park, a development part of Gentoo’s affordable homes plan and Equans’ New Build housing scheme, kicks up a gear. 71 homes will be constructed for Affordable Rent and Shared Ownership, with future residents benefiting from technologies such as Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHPs) and Solar Panels to help reduce their energy bills and provide a cleaner source of heating and electricity – minimising their carbon footprint.
Joanne Gordon, Development Director at Gentoo Group said: “At Gentoo we are keen to implement renewable or low carbon energy technology and improve the building fabric within our developments with the aim to reduce carbon emissions and reduce tenants energy bills.
“Our new 71 homes will leave a lasting legacy in the area just like each of these new trees. It’s great to see that the local children are keen to do their bit to protect the planet for the future.
“More information about the development can be found on: www.gentoogroup.com/wellspring-park/”
Louise Buckton, New Build Director at Equans, said: “One of Equans’ key objectives wherever we work is to support the local communities and make sure we’re leaving a positive long-term impact for residents in the wider area. By helping St John Bosco School’s ambition of becoming a Forest School, we’re inspiring generations of young people to become interested in the environment and the key role they can play in reducing carbon emissions.
“The environment-first focus of the school complements the work happening just next door at Gentoo’s Wellspring Park development. ASHPs, Solar Panels and more efficient windows and doors will primarily save residents money on their energy bills but will also reduce their carbon footprint through cleaner and greener sources of warming and powering their homes.”
Lianne Peart, headteacher of St John Bosco Catholic Primary School, said: "It has been a wonderful partnership between the school, Equans and Gentoo and we look forward to watching the construction of new homes develop and grow just like the trees."