Volunteers from South West housing association LiveWest have clubbed together recently to help Okehampton Primary School create a sensory garden for anxious children.

The new garden will be used to provide children with a calming, quiet space to relax and learn as teachers have noticed that more children are suffering with anxiety since the pandemic.

Emily Cannon, Year 6 teacher at Okehampton Primary School said: ‘After the pandemic, more children are experiencing anxiety and so we are pleased to provide them with this space for quiet discussions about how to learn to cope in a calm, sensory space.’

The garden, which is currently being constructed, will include planters filled with colourful flowers, log seating, habitats for insects, climbing plants and other sensory objects.

The initiative is part of the AWE (Awe, Wonder & Engagement) Project set up by the Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust, which runs Okehampton Primary School, which aims to rejuvenate school facilities with the help of willing teams of staff, governors, older students, local businesses and organisations and the wider community.

The project was initially established in order to continue the strong community spirit which had been grew during lockdown and has seen numerous local businesses pledge their support, including LiveWest.

Alison Knight, community connector at LiveWest, said: ‘We were delighted to support LiveWest staff volunteering support projects to improve outside play or learning environments to help improve childrens health and wellbeing.

‘During the past months of lockdown, many people have taken to engaging with nature but for those without access to green spaces, communal garden areas and shared green spaces have been a blessing. The green areas in our communities are really important to residents, allowing them to socialise outside and enjoy the fresh air.’

LiveWest are also working with the school to bring an artist in to develop a piece of artwork created with Year 5s to connect young people to nature as a back drop to the whole area.

Ms Knight added: ‘LiveWest have funded £240 towards the material costs for this area. We have substantial housing in the catchment area of this school and will have many children from our properties attending.’

LiveWest are the biggest social housing provider in the South West and has plans to build around 6,500 new homes over the next five years.

The company aims to invest £2billion into the region over the next ten years.