Sheffield schoolchildren revamp graffiti-strewn park shelter

Pupils from a school in Sheffield helped revamp a graffiti-strewn park shelter in the hope of making it a better space for the community to enjoy.

By Alana Roberts
Thursday, 04 July, 2019, 19:41
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Year 1 students from St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, in Firs Hill, came across the shelter in Abbeyfield Park in January as part of a class project in which they explored their community, looking at areas they liked and ones they wanted to improve.

They saw the shelter covered in dirt and graffiti, the youngsters – who are all five years old – decided the space was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘needed to be better’.

And with the help of teacher Lizzy Andrew, they wrote letters to Sheffield Council’s parks and green spaces department for help.

Each student also designed a new shelter as part of their current half-term project based around engineering, testing out suitable materials and deciding on positive things they wanted to see in the shelter – with rainbows reigning supreme following a vote.

After agreeing to help with the project, the council team set about renovating the roof of the shelter to ensure it would no longer leak and then began painting over the graffiti in blue to represent the sky.

The shelter before it was revamped

The children were then invited to paint their own rainbow, adding their names at the bottom of each to make them easily identifiable when visiting the area with their family and friends.

They also planted flowers to encourage wildlife and add colour to the area.

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During the project the youngsters were also taught about the possibility that the shelter may again be targeted by vandals to prepare them for if it were to happen.

Miss Andrew said: “At St Catherine’s we write our own curriculum, which is all project based looking at a big questions and concepts, and trying to unfold them with lots of learning linked in.

Children added plants to the area

“We talked about how we’d be upset if people graffitied the shelter again but how proud we’d be when the project was done.

“We will make a poster to tell people not to graffiti and tell them to look after the shelter, but in a kind way. It will be a positive happy note saying this is for you and everyone in the community.

“Hopefully people will want to look after it but if not maybe we could fix it again.”

The children painting rainbows
The children and staff from St Catherine's in the revamped shelter
The children from St Catherine's painting their rainbows