Green Team preview new Centre

Written by Terry Kemp on .

The Ingrid Sidmouth Centre has now been handed over to the School by the contractors. Now that the work has finished the Centre will start to be put into full use next term. However, the School Green Team got a sneak preview this week. . 


green team

Pupils name the Centre - the full story

Written by Terry Kemp on .

We have raised over two hundred thousand pounds to build a purpose built ‘Outdoor Learning Centre to facilitate and expand the delivery of existing ‘Outdoors Learning’ education here at Rowdeford School. From the beginning of the project and the expansion of the initial ideas the intention is to create an exemplary facility that extends its work to involve the wider community, visiting schools and offer training; becoming a Centre of Excellence in Outdoor Learning.


The original ‘Kennels’ building (formerly school farm dairy & animal housing) was in  a state of dereliction and we are sympathetically restoring the building  as a simple, functional, weatherproof space repairing brickwork, timber and roof coverings. The intention is to be ‘minimalist’ in the refurbishment and within the restored spaces insert ‘pods’ or ‘self-contained’ units of free-standing accommodation creating storage and toilet facilities. This maintains the structure very closely to its 19th C origins and allows for integration of habitats e.g. swallows, bats. (we already have a Tawny Owl using the facility as a roost.)

Trust and Pupils to name new Outdoor Learning Centre after retiring Headteacher

Written by Terry Kemp on .

The building of Rowdeford School’s new Outdoor Learning Centre is still in progress but in advance of the school holidays the Centre will be named on the 11th July 2017 by two former pupils.

The Centre, which will be finished ready for the new term, has been financed through the efforts of The Rowdeford Charity Trust and other supporters.

Jonny Grew Chairman of the Rowdeford Charity Trust said,” We are so grateful to so many people and organisations. Costing over £200,000 the purpose-built facility will give access to the outdoor facilities around the school to more pupils and community groups. We are also really pleased that we can honour our retiring Headteacher Ingrid Sidmouth by naming the centre after her.” He continued, “Ingrid has been such an important ‘leading light’ since she first became deputy headteacher in 2001. It is appropriate the Centre should be called ‘The Ingrid Sidmouth Centre’ “

Fledglings delay works - sort off!

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Within the woods close to Rowdeford School, The Rowdeford Charity Trust and the School are restoring and extending the old farm kennels providing an innovative outdoor learning space. Contractors are on site as are a nest of fledgling flycatchers.

These rare birds and its nest are within an area of the old roof that has yet to be cleared. Scaffolding is in place, carpenters are replacing old timbers, concrete is being laid all observed by these little birds and their parents.

All off the planned works have been subject to strict environmental checks and conditions but this nest has been a surprise. The Schools appointed contractors, local firm Wilkins Builders Ltd have been very careful and now are rearranging their work to allow the young birds to develop and leave the nest naturally.

Terry Kemp the Trust’s Fundraising Coordinator said, “The work to raise the finance by the Trustees, School Staff, School Governors, Pupils, Friends and others to build an Outdoor Learning Centre has been tough. The fact that we have now started and could be thwarted by nature is ironic! But we can work around this and will welcome the birds back to our bird boxes next year.”

Imperial Charity Cheque presented to Pupils

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Now that the Rowdeford Charity Trust has reached ts target to be able to start work they are able to contact the various charities that have pledged funds. One such charity is the Imperial Charity who pledged £1000 if we raised the rest.

Pupils from the School met the President of the Imperial Charity David McCance and showed him the gardens and the site where the new Centre is to be built. Afterwards he presented the children,who on this occasion were, representing the Trust with the cheque. 



New home for Rowdeford Owl

Written by Terry Kemp on .

The building of our outdoor learning centre comes witha few conditions. One of those conditions is the provision of an Owl Box(roost) for our Owl. This bird has for some years been useing the roof of the old kennels so needs a new home now that we have taken the roof tiles off and building works are about to begin.

The pupils and staff have built the box and there has been many sighting of Owen and others standing holding their chins and pondering as to how to get it up into the tree. There has been talk of cranes, 'cherry pickers', even helecopters were mentioned. However, the end result was ladders and 'good old fashioned ' muscle (Owens!) 

Thanks to everyone for their hard work. Let's now see whether Mr Owl takes up residence.

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Mr Craze up the canal with a paddle,

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Aside from all the work in getting our Outdoor Learning Centre underway we often can forget that fundraising is still required for other essentual things required for the children at Rowdeford School.

John Craze,  one of the teachers at the School is so desperate to get some essentual exhibition equipment for his Duke of Edinburgh  Award pupils he is going to paddle his canoe 125 miles to Westminster! 

John has entered the Annual Devizes to Westminster Canoe Marathon in the hope that he can gain sponsorship and raise £1250. He tells us that he has stopped falling in and has been training now for most weekends. To support him and contribute to his fundraising effort. ( and what an effort too!) press Here .


Watch this space - we are on our way!

Written by Terry Kemp on .

As 2016 gradually came to a close we saw our fundraising total coming tantalisingly close to our target. Into the new year and yes we have done it !

Thanks to so many who have given time, money and pledges we are now in a position that we are starting the two stage process of obtaining tenders for the works.


An Autumn Review of Fundraising

Written by Terry Kemp on .

As autumn kicks in and the trees in woodland at the School begins to shed their leaves it is perhaps a good time to review our progress.  Behind the secenes there are meetings , decisions, letters, applications and so much more.

We are now at a time where we are close to our target of £216,000 thanks to the generosity of people and organisations both with time, pledges  and money. In the pipeline there are still applications being considered so the prospect of starting work in early 2017 is looking possible. 

Watch this space for further news!

Maggie finishes and reaches target!

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Trustee Maggie Moore once more put on her running shoes to support our School and the Outdoor Learning Centre. She ran the Great North Run 2016 on Sunday .

We all know the Mo Farah came in first but Maggie was 29,550 out of 57000 and 44th in her category of females 65 and over. Her time was a terrific 13.1miles in 2hours and 35minutes. She now proundly sports a blister and two dodgy toenail.( and of course a big smile)

She has reached her fundraising target! Thanks to everyone who contributed.

Towards 2017 - An optimistic view

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Though the year of 2016 is not yet over it is thought that an optimistic view 'towards 2017' would be an advantage.

The year so far has fueled that optimism for we have had many generous pledges and donations to bring us closer towards our target. The Trustees and the School is extremly grateful for this support. so where are we now and where could we be as the new year arrives? 

Jamie's appeal takes a taxi ride

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Jamie Rowcliffe a part time pupil at Rowdeford School is still hard at work with his target of raising £1o,000 for the Rowdeford Outdoor Learning Centre Project. Within weeks he reached £1000 , inspiring and motivating him to change his target to this £10,000. Seizing an opportunity, he has decided that he is not going to do it alone. He has recruited 15 Taxi Drivers to help.

Children come from all around Wiltshire to attend Rowdeford Special Needs School and for many the transport is provided by taxi. The drivers therefore know the school, know the children and also know the benefits of the pupil’s time there. The participating taxis, for three weeks, starting on Sunday the 15th May, will have a collection box in the vehicle asking passengers to contribute to Jamie’s Appeal.

jamies taxis2

Jamie’s teacher said, “Everyone has been so helpful in setting up this initiative and Jamie is determined to reach his target.’

The taxi project is only one of a number of activities led by this 12-year-old pupil. This weekend he was at the Rowdeford Garden Fair talking to visitors with his collection box firmly in his hand. He is also planning to do a sponsored walk when he visits Wales this year.

Concert in aid of Charity

Written by Terry Kemp on .

There are many ways the the Trust raises money - this one is really special !RCT Concert

Yurt in use

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Now the weather is better the Yurt is being used for Outdoor Learning Sessions. Not that foul weather is really a problem for the Yurt has its own woodstove inside !!!What you might call all 'Mongolian' home comforts .

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Tea and Cake thankyou

Written by Terry Kemp on .

On Tuesday 12th of April 2016 our fundraising pupil Jamie and Mrs Howell (Rowdeford Plus Programme Teaching Assistant) showed their appreciation to a kind donation by organising a thank you tea party.

The tea party even included a sponge made by Jamie and his family. As the cake and tea was appreciated so much everyone is thinking that more cake should be baked to encourage more donations !!!!

jamies cake

Fundraising Project Changes

Written by Terry Kemp on .

Thanks to so many people the fundraising project for our Outdoor Learning Centre has progressed in leaps and bounds. With pledges of funds plus money already raised we have over £100,000. 

The demand for the Outddor Learning Centre space however is growing and it is with this in mind that the School and the Trust decided to review where we are and consider next actions. This has now been done and it has revealed that with the restoration of the old building only we could still meet all our targets and benefits. This means that the second ( new build) building for the moment is not required for we are making full use of the Yurt.

This now means that we have a new fundraising target of £216,000 bringing our finish line much closer !  

Each of our kind donors are now being advised of these changes and fresh literature is also being prepared. However we can be optimistic that with luck we could be building by early 2017 ! 

Jamie's now a BBC Radio Star

Written by Terry Kemp on .

This week you will be able to hear an interview with Jamie and his Mum on the BBC Wiltshire The Graham Seaman Show.

Graham had heard of the fundraising work that Jamie had set himself and wanted the opportunity to interview him. It was prerecorded to suit all our timetables but it was a great experience for everyone ! 

IMG 6792 Jamie got to choose his favourite record too ! AND introduced it like a true professional.



Two Rowdeford Supporters and Fundraisers meet

Written by Terry Kemp on .

IMG 6741Today saw the meeting of two Rowdeford Outdoor Learning Centre Supporters and Fundraisers. Gareth John, Chairman of the Wiltshire Branch of The Wooden Spoon Trust met  Jamie Rowcliffe who is busy leading up his own appeal for the Centre.

During the course of 2015 and 2016 the Wooden Spoon Trust has been activally fundraising for the project. Gareth was on a visit to the school, to talk about progress. Whilst there he was introduced to Jamie who proudly informed him that he had reached his target of £1000 and was now going for £10,000.

Two positive fundraisers from two different generations but with one objective - Who could refuse them?

A Rowdeford fundraiser's review of 2015

Written by Terry Kemp on .

It’s this time of year that we get around to writing our thankyou letters (or maybe emails) This Blog post is, in some way, a big thankyou letter to so many people who have been involved with the Outdoor Learning Centre Project during 2015. We have still a way to go in raising the funds we want but the start has been encouraging, thanks to so many people.

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We have done it !

Thanks to so many who have given time, money and pledges we have built our Outdoor Learning Centre !


We want to share traditional outdoor skills and learning whilst breaking down those barriers between people with special needs, the wider community and workplaces.

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The Rowdeford Charity Trust
Rowdeford School,
Rowde, Devizes,
Wiltshire SN10 2QQ.

Telephone: 07584 778151

Registered Charity - 1088605

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