Services’ children get nurture room

Nine-year-old Charlie Neal-Hill explores the new nurture room with classmates at Carswell Primary School, Abingdon.Picture: OX65259 Damian Halliwell

Trish Moore gives Capt John Barker a tour

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Blackbird Leys and Greater Leys. Call me on 01865 425403

THE children of servicemen and women often have to move around the country to different bases.

But to help support them at a new school, a dedicated nurture room has opened at Carswell Primary School in Abingdon.

Thought to be the first in the county, the special room at the school in Bostock Road will be an area for youngsters to get both emotional and practical support.

It was officially opened on Friday by Captain John Barker, the unit welfare officer for four logistical support regiments at Dalton Barracks.

More than 70 service children are currently enrolled at the school with hundreds more expected from the 450 families arriving at the barracks in the coming months.

Trish Moore, the home-school link worker for service families, has pushed for the room to be constructed since her appointment a year ago.

She said: “We did have a space before, but it wasn’t dedicated for us and it wasn’t ideal – we would have kids getting upset and then someone squeezing past to use the photocopier.

“Now this gives them a space to relax and unwind and look at what is really worrying them.”

The room was created by refurbishing a disused office, with support from furnishing businesses and volunteers.

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Ms Moore, from Didcot, added: “The nurture room will be a special space for the children to get emotional or practical support at times of additional stress or upset such as when their parents are deployed.”

Chantelle Reeve’s son Chris, ten, will be able to use the nurture room, as both she and her husband Steve work at the barracks.

Mrs Reeve, 28, said: “It’s really nice, knowing he has somewhere to go to if he was having a problem where he can be supported.

“It’s lovely that they have set up this room for them.”

Staff will use play equipment and therapy methods to help children settle into school life and adjust to parents being deployed.

Youngsters will also receive support in contacting their absent parents through the bluey and e-bluey systems (writing letters and sending emails).

Ms Moore, 46, said: “This will provide an opportunity for them to get good one- to-one support, as well as recognising other service children who they may not have otherwise met.”

Cpt Barker praised Ms Moore’s efforts.

He said: “Trish’s work as a home-school link worker is absolutely vital. She’s our key link to knowing what the kids need.

“Every area that has military connections should have someone like Trish.”

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