Stagecoach North East is delivering eco-friendly Christmas presents to pupils from schools across the north east as the winners of its Green Santa Schools competition.
School children were invited to write a letter to the company’s Green Santa to ask for environmentally friendly presents for their school worth up to £250 and six schools were chosen from all the entries by Green Santa. Green Santa then took time out of the busy festive schedule to visit the winning schools to congratulate them and present them with their winner’s certificates and gifts.
At Richard Avenue Primary School in Sunderland, Year Three, Four and Five pupils from the Eco Gardening Club, which has just won its third Green Flag Award, came up with an innovative idea, asking for hedgehog homes to make warm cosy beds for them in their wildlife garden. The Eco Gardening Club has been learning all about how hedgehogs have been struggling this year.
Maria Glover, age 8, from Richard Avenue Primary School, said: “The hedgehogs need somewhere to sleep and be warm too.”
Mrs Karen Todd, Headteacher at Richard Avenue Primary School, added: “As a school we are thrilled to have won the Stagecoach Green Santa award. The prize money will support in the development of wildlife habitats within our school grounds."
In Newcastle West Jesmond Primary School was the Green Santa winner. 11-year-old Giya, a pupil at West Jesmond Primary School, said: "It was a unique experience because only the Eco Group met Green Santa. We were proud to win."
Deb Hainsworth, Eco Coordinator, West Jesmond Primary School, said: "Our Eco Group work hard all year to encourage everyone to develop good habits and think about our environment. The children came up with some good ideas to continue our green work including more litter pickers and more plants in the classrooms. We were delighted to meet Green Santa and have displayed our certificate on our Eco noticeboard for everyone to see. Thank you Stagecoach for running this competition."
At St Paul’s R.C. Primary School in Billingham, the school currently does not have a recycling system in place, so they have requested recycling bins to kick off the start of their eco-friendly programme.
Sheena Sinclair, Headteacher, at St. Paul's R.C School said, "The children were so excited to hear that they had won the competition, and even more excited to receive a visit from Green Santa himself. Their ideas to improve the school environment and help us to be more eco-friendly were many and varied.
“Their teacher, Mrs Victoria Wilson, seized the opportunity to encourage the children to think about the impact they can have on their environment, by engaging them in such a purposeful activity. I look forward to seeing how they would like to spend their winnings. I am sure their ideas will go from strength to strength."
At Lynnfield Primary School in Hartlepool, a group of pupils from the School Council came up with an innovative idea for their memorial garden, which was created after the death of their much-loved former head teacher. The young eco warriors want to attract more wildlife and requested some hedgehog homes to make warm, cosy beds for them in their wildlife garden, plus some bird feeders and a bird table.
The school has hedgehogs in the area and would love to provide a safe home for them. Birds are also regular visitors to the memorial garden but at the moment they don’t have any means of providing a regular feeding ground for them.
Lyla Taylor, 11, from Lynnfield Primary School, said: “I feel very proud that we have won this competition and I can't wait to get the new things for the garden.”
Deb O’Connor, School Council Lead at Lynnfield Primary School, said: “We are so pleased to have been given this gift as we are desperately trying to complete our memorial garden. It has taken longer than expected due to a few setbacks beyond our control. We are really looking forward to adding these latest items to our garden to encourage the wildlife to stay in our area. We would like to thank Stagecoach for providing this opportunity and also Green Santa for choosing our school as winner.”
The Green Santa initiative is part of Stagecoach North East’s environmental programme and is designed to encourage children across the region to be more environmentally aware and demonstrate how easy it is to make a difference to the local environment.
Steve Walker, Managing Director, Stagecoach North East, says: “Each year the children come up with fun and creative ideas for their entries, as well as using their imagination for presents to help the school and the environment and this year was no exception.”
“We are committed to working with and for the communities we serve and our Green Santa has helped show the children in the region how important their environment is. I would like to thank all the children who entered the competition and congratulate all the schools on their excellent efforts this year.”