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North East housing association North Star is building futures at a local primary school with help from Foundation of Light.

Foundation of Light delivering a learning session with Evenwood Primary pupils

For the past two years, the Stockton-on-Tees based company has provided funding which has allowed Foundation of Light to inspire pupils from Evenwood Church of England Primary School and their families through a range of sports and education programmes.

In 2015, the school and North Star identified the need to have a male role model to work alongside the all-female staff, who would deliver PE and Family Learning courses which would enhance Evenwood’s curriculum.

Through the Foundation a male coach was placed in the school delivering a Family Learning through Football Fitness programme which saw over 30 adults and children register on the course, offering activities designed to educate participants around the benefits of exercise while improving relationships within the family.

Promotion of equality and diversity were introduced in the sessions, alongside Functional skills, ICT skills, Numeracy and Literacy to help inspire the learners to achieve.

Sport and Play (PE) sessions were planned with the school and aimed to develop the children’s technical, physical, social and psychological needs in sports such as football, netball handball and cricket.

Peter Locke, Community Investment Officer at North Star, said: “The impact of our work with Foundation of Light within Evenwood School has been huge.

“It’s extremely rewarding to see what a positive difference we can make to our communities and to see so many people who have challenged themselves to learn, develop and improve their lives, for themselves and their families, is fantastic.

“I’d like to think we’re so much more than a landlord, and our work with Foundation of Light and Evenwood School is a perfect example of how we’re working to give people in our communities more than a place to live.”

Evenwood CofE Primary School Head Teacher, Helen Sutherland said: “We are extremely grateful to North Star Housing and the Foundation of Light for the support offered to our children and families.

“There have been many positive outcomes from this, including improved engagement with our school from families, a positive male role model for our pupils, and increased confidence from children and family members who attended the family learning with them. We already have a lot of interest from other families who are keen to join the next programme.”

Due to the success of the Foundation’s delivery, led by Informal Education Officer Calum Maddison, the programmes were expanded to include the business and enterprise challenge, Samson’s Shoes, for children in Year 5 and 6.

Using the design technology element of Key Stage 2, Samson’s Shoes uses basic business principles to take primary school pupils through the business journey working in groups to design a shoe for Sunderland AFC mascot Samson.

Evenwood competed in a Dragon’s Den-style final at the Stadium of Light against almost 100 other pupils from other Durham schools where their innovative ideas saw them impress the judges and win the competition.

Richard Hopper, Head of Commercial at Foundation of Light, added: “We are immensely proud of our partnership with North Star Housing and the fantastic work we are doing in Evenwood School.

“The children and parents have really benefited from the PE and Family Learning sessions, and the pupils deserved their Samson’s Shoes win for all their hard work. We’re looking forward to an exciting future in South Durham.”