A County Durham primary school is upcycling a decommissioned railway carriage into a magical learning library with the support of Climate Action North.

Kirk Merrington Primary School, based in Spennymoor, is refitting an old railway carriage that will include bespoke library furniture, new flooring, and repurposing original seats and table, into a library where pupils can indulge in the love of reading and creative writing in a fun and relaxed environment.

The Dare to Dream project is being spearheaded by the School Secretary, Lesley Smith, who has reached £5,000 so far through a GoFundMe campaign. She said: “We are very excited about this project, which has been a dream of mine for the past two years. Due to the increase in pupil numbers the school’s purpose-built library is now used as a classroom, and the library was moved into school corridors.

“The Dare to Dream train will provide an imaginative learning environment for the children as well as reinforce appreciation for our local heritage which is steeped in history in respect to the railroads.” 

The project has the full support and backing of Head teacher, Nicola Murray, who is excited to be able to offer this innovative learning space to the children at Kirk Merrington School. She said: “Reading is a basic life skill and as a school we feel it is important to help create a space where our children can go and explore their imagination in the book they are reading and share the story with their family and friends.”

Climate Action North will help to secure the installation of solar panels onto the carriages, will also give advice and guidance on creating a hedgehog friendly area around the grounds and will also be donating books for the library through their projects.

Climate Action North’s Managing Director, Sharon Lashley, said: “It’s fantastic that the school is breathing life into disused train carriages in such an ingenious and practical way that will help ignite the imagination of the children of today for the world of work for tomorrow. We’re thrilled to be supporting this exciting project; after all, children represent the future, and what is more important than that?”

Ms Smith has also secured support from ISG Construction, Network Rail, Keirnan Groundworks team and Heras fencing. Plants have been donated by Gavin Jones Landscaping and the train carriages will be brought to site by GCS Johnson.

Ms Smith said: “We are very grateful for the support from everyone and all donations will go towards the refurbishment of the train carriages and repurposing of the library shelves, along with a lovely wooden story telling chair, a dressing up box, and a range of new books.

“Our target is £10,000 and we know we still have a way to go, so I urge everyone to please ask family, friends and work colleagues to donate anything they can to help us achieve our target and create something very special. This will become an iconic piece of school and railway history for many years to come.”

Donate via the GoFundMe page.

If you would like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities to help this project please email sharon@climateactionnortheast.org.uk

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