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Community project to spruce up school 20 July 2007

YOUTH organisations in Onchan are joining forces to help give a school a bright new look.

A community art project is under way to decorate boards which will be erected on the exterior walls of Onchan School.

Groups that have signed up to the innovative project so far include Onchan Youth Club and Play Club, Onchan Scout Group, Onchan Guides, Onchan Explorer Unit, St Peter’s Church Sunday School, St Anthony’s Church Sunday School, Onchan Junior FC, Onchan Silver Band, Onchan Entertainers and Kenyon’s Café. More are invited to participate.

Youth and Community worker for Onchan and co-ordinator of the project Nigel Kane explained:

‘The head teacher of Onchan School, Sally Farrell, had the idea of brightening up the school through this project. We hope that by involving pupils past and present through the many and varied youth groups operating in Onchan, they will feel a sense of ownership of the school and have a keen interest in sprucing it up. We hope the project will also generate a sense of community pride.’

The organisations, who met this week to plan the project, have now been tasked with coming up with designs for the boards, which measure eight feet by four feet, possibly by holding their own competitions to find winning drawings.

They will then recreate their designs using painting materials paid for in part by the school with kind donations from Zurich Financial Services and the Onchan School Association.

The school will be thrown open on Saturday mornings during September so that groups can meet to create their works. Boards can also be taken away and designed during club sessions.

Nigel said:

‘The designs need to be community-based and reflect the activities of the organisations creating them. The groups are happy to be involved in such an interesting community project, which will bring various groups in the village together. There are already a lot of ideas flowing, so we are looking forward to seeing the splash of colour provided by the finished boards.’

The Department of Education's Works Division will erect the finished boards on the walls of the school and it is planned to have an unveiling ceremony in the autumn.

Mrs Farrell said:

Onchan School very much sees itself as a community school and all the staff work very hard towards providing an excellent education for our children as well as developing each child’s awareness of themselves and their place in the community. Mr Kane has been so enthusiastic and supportive of both the school and this project and, through his commitment to the community, he has engaged the interest of many of Onchan’s community groups, of which our children and parents are past and present members.’

Mrs Farrell added:

‘Staff and pupils are also completing boards as part of this project and Nathan Beard, an educational support officer at the school, has already begun our facelift by painting a mural on the nursery wall. This is an exciting time and we are looking forward to our school being as attractive on the outside as it is within.’

If any Onchan-based youth groups wish to become involved in the project, they should contact Nigel on 428143.

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