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'Eyesore' planters given new lease of life

Barbara Boyd

Reporter:

Barbara Boyd

UNPOPULAR decorative planters removed in shame from Banbridge have found a new home at Iveagh Primary School.

Back in June large decorative planters intended to enhance the appearance of Banbridge were removed after complaints that they were overgrown and turning into “an eyesore”.

They were installed in car parks across Banbridge in an effort to brighten up the town.

However, after a number of complaints, council replaced them with smaller cubic-shaped planters of varying sizes with low-maintenance shrubs as an alternative.

As a result of this, the planters were offered to schools and community groups wanting to reuse them for planting projects and were offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

One local woman, who has grandchildren attending Iveagh, saw an opportunity to turn two of the planters into sandboxes for the Rathfriland pupils.

Stephen Carlisle, principal of Iveagh Primary School, is delighted with the new additions to the playground.

“I have been trying to encourage alternative playground activities to engage our children. Last year we ran a successful programme two days a week using a variety of games such as skipping, Jenga and Connect 4 for the pupils,” he said.

“One of the things I noticed was that the wee ones love to play with toy diggers and tractors. I was hoping to get boxes which we could put sand which they could use for these toys.

“Local woman Irene Laffin is part of our newly-formed Friends of Iveagh Group. It is a group that encourages community-linked events for fundraising.

“Irene heard me mention that I was wanting sandboxes for the children and when she saw the story of the planters being removed in The Outlook she thought she would try and rescue one of the boxes and develop it into a sandbox.”

Irene and her husband Noel set to work on completely transforming the two planters and delivered them to the school at the end of August.

Mr Carlisle said they have already been a great hit with the children.

He added: “The children bring their own diggers and cars in to school and they have so much fun making roadways in the sand.

“It is also encouraging collaborative play among the children which is great too.”

Irene also had enough wood left over to build a bench for the children to sit on during lunch and break time.

“We have done very well from this and we are extremely thankful to Irene and her husband. We will shortly have the new bench installed in the playground for our children to enjoy,” Mr Carlisle said.

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