A PRIMARY school in Winsford has transforming a ‘tired old classroom’ into a ‘homely’ nurturing and therapeutic space.

Thanks to a grant from the Darnhall Exhibition Foundation (DEF), St Chad's CE Primary School’s new space, called the Ark, will be used for supported classes for younger children who are struggling to make the transition between home and school life.

The DEF was set up in 1964 to provide grants to 11 primary school in the Winsford area, and this year introduced a new award in honour of the foundation’s chairman of 30 years, former Darnhall parish councillor Robin Wood, who died in February.

Foundation trustees, Toni Findlay and Valerie Godfrey, visited the school in July 2023, and were so impressed with St Chad’s vision for the Ark, they agreed to meet its full £1,000 cost.

Northwich Guardian: The new award commemorates the contribution of DEF chairman, Robin Wood, who served for 30 yearsThe new award commemorates the contribution of DEF chairman, Robin Wood, who served for 30 years (Image: Catherine Speed)

What’s more, when they went back at the end of February to look at the progress, they agreed to make the school the first every recipient of the new Robin Wood Award.

Toni and Val said St Chad’s had ‘really gone the extra mile’ in designing the Ark in accordance with the DEF’s principles.

Head teacher, Catherine Speed, said: "The funding we’ve been given has made such an impact on the Ark, turning it into a warm, welcoming room.

“It had previously been a classroom and family support space, but it was look quite tired and in need of a new look for everyone. We wanted to make the space more like a home.

“We were delighted when DEF's chairman and trustee, Toni and Val, came to visit us last year to see the work we were doing with our children.

“They very kindly offered us the full amount to refurbish the room and make it a special place.

“Not only that, Val and Toni's encouragement has been invaluable and the children have taken great pride and joy in sharing the work they have been doing in the Ark, which has really boosted their self-esteem."

Catherine, staff, and pupils were delighted to also welcome Robin's wife, Nicola Wood, along with Toni and Val to present the award to Ark lead, Haydn Bettles, and some of the children.

Toni added: "The work the school has done in creating the Ark, and the impact it’s had on the pupils, has really impressed us.

“We’d delighted to make the St Chads the first recipient of the Robin Wood Award.”