SCHOOLS across Worcestershire are celebrating after winning a slice of £25,000 from our Cash for Schools competition.

St Barnabas CE Primary School in Worcester scooped the top prize of £5,000 in the cash giveaway organised by us and Western Power Distribution.

A staggering 24,170 votes were cast with St Barnabas, in Green Lane, clocking up 3,744 to win first prize.

The school plans to use the money to transform a neglected space into an inspirational outdoor classroom.

Headteacher Sarah Hanson said: "We are absolutely delighted to win this fantastic amount.

"We are really grateful to Worcester News and Western Power Distribution.

"It represents a fantastic opportunity for these children.

"We are working incredibly hard to provide the best learning opportunities for every single child here.

"This is another step forward to achieve that goal."

The school has put together a £17,000 project to transform the unloved piece of ground into an inspiring outdoor space with water play, a sandpit and outdoor musical instruments.

The school is now hoping to gain Lottery funding and to begin work by Easter.

Once complete, the outdoor area will also be offered to pre-schools and community groups such as brownies and beavers.

Mrs Hanson added: "We have a superb design and it will develop the children's social, emotional and imaginative play as well as offering opportunities to work collaboratively and use the space all year round.

"We had a superb response to the competition from our parents and families within the community.

"We really promoted the competition and everyone was really engaged with it.

"It's an indication of the way the community is really behind this project."

Our competition has been running since October and saw 30 primary and middle schools from across South Worcestershire shortlisted.

Readers were able to collect coupons printed in the paper to vote for their preferred school's project.

Also celebrating was Oldbury Park Primary School which won £3,000 after finishing in second place with 2,968 votes.

The Oldbury Road school will use the money to update an uninspiring foyer space to create a bright, welcoming reading and reception area.

Rebecca Hall, assistant headteacher, said: "We are delighted with the result.

"It was a lovely experience for staff, children and parents to collaborate and work towards something we are all going to benefit from."

The school will now buy sofas, new furnishings, book cases, carpets and enough chairs for the children to enjoy a circle time in the new reading area.

Among the ideas to brighten up the space is for large book characters to hang from walls and for a beanstalk to wind its way around a pillar.

As part of the competition, the school ran a class competition for those collecting the most coupons which was won by 1H and 3M.

The classes have both won an extra hour of golden time.

In third place was Nunnery Wood Primary School which has won £1,500 towards its plans to create a whole school allotment.

Each class at the Prestwich Avenue school already has a small planter to grow limited amounts of their own fruit and vegetables.

Now, they will create an allotment on school grounds and hope to provide each of the school's 14 classes with a raised bed.

The project would see a polytunnel erected and a garden area with seating and tables created.

The children will have the opportunity to grow their own fruit and vegetables to understand where food comes from.

Deputy headteacher Richard Bridgewater said: "We are delighted to have come third in the competition.

"The prize money will allow us to complete the allotment project being funded by the Friends of NWPS.

"This will have a huge benefit for our children, who will grow and cook their own vegetables next year."

Also winning £1,500 was Cherry Orchard Primary School which came in fourth place.

The Timberdine Close school has an ambitious project to turn an old red bus into a fun library.

Headteacher Mike Painter said: "This will make a significant contribution to the development of a new library at the school and we are grateful for the generosity of the Worcester News and Western Power Distribution for running this competition."

Peter Broughton, Western Power Distribution’s team manager for Worcester city visited two of the schools yesterday.

He said: “We are delighted with the response to the Cash for Schools initiative and would like to pass on our congratulations to all of the winning schools.

“WPD has developed a well-established community support programme and we are immensely proud of our track record of achievements to date which has seen a range of individual organisations and communities benefitting in practical and realistic way.

“Education is one of its key strands – the aim being to provide valuable support as well as important safety messages for children about the dangers associated with electricity and electricity infrastructure.

"Supporting Cash for Schools has helped us to offer our support to a wide variety of schools in Worcestershire.”

The winners

  1. St Barnabas CE Primary - £5,000
  2. Oldbury Park Primary - £3,000
  3. Nunnery Wood Primary - £1,500
  4. Cherry Orchard Primary - £1,500
  5. Perdiswell Primary - £850
  6. Perry Wood Primary and Nursery - £850
  7. Sytchampton Endowed - £850
  8. Claines CE Primary- £850
  9. Witton Middle - £850
  10. Pitmaston Primary - £850
  11. Grimley and Holt Primary - £600
  12. Fort Royal Community Primary- £600
  13. Dines Green Primary - £600
  14. Broadwas CE Primary - £600
  15. Ombersley Endowed - £600
  16. Stanley Road Primary - £500
  17. Oasis Academy Warndon - £500
  18. Red Hill Primary - £500
  19. Powick Primary - £500
  20. St Georges Catholic Primary - £500
  21. Martley CE Primary - £400
  22. Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Primary - £400
  23. Welland Primary - £400
  24. Cranham Primary - £350
  25. Westacre Middle - £350
  26. Inkberrow First - £350
  27. The Grove Primary - £300
  28. St Georges CE Primary - £300
  29. The De Montfort Middle - £300
  30. St Andrews CE First - £250