Military-style DIY SOS Comes to the Rescue of Mill Water Special Needs School

A military-style DIY SOS team has stepped in to overhaul the outdoor learning space at an East Devon school for children with special needs.

Pupils and staff at Mill Water School in East Budleigh have had an incredibly difficult year and have been urgently needing extra shelters and outdoor learning spaces in order to spend more time in the fresh air and reduce the risks of Covid. Their beautiful apple orchard has become neglected and their 115 pupils – who all have severe and profound learning disabilities – have lacked the sensory areas, shelters and wheelchair access in order to make full use of it.

Now, a Bicton organisation called Fusion that is led by ex-military personnel is taking a workforce in to transform the apple orchard area with new wooden shelters, seating, an ‘insect hotel’ and raised planters. This will allow Mill Water to extend its delivery of art, music and drama workshops in the outdoors, mitigating the Covid risks. It will also provide much-needed protection from the elements and the raised planters will enable those of all abilities to participate in the school’s popular gardening projects.

The school is extremely grateful to the leadership and teambuilding organisation Fusion, which is delivering this project for free through partnership with YuLife, a life insurance company with a strong community ethos that aims to create lasting legacies.

Mill Water head teacher Sarah Pickering said: “This really is an incredible project and comes at a time when our school needs it most; at the end of an extremely tough 18 months and when extra outdoor learning space is needed more than ever before. It’s a wonderful boost to morale and we can’t wait for the transformation to get started and to develop our partnership with Fusion and YuLife. Most importantly, we can’t wait to see the look on our pupils’ faces when they get to use the new facilities!”
The preparation work was completed on 12th August.