A SPECIAL centre for children with behavioural and learning difficulties in Flintshire has finally unveiled a new ‘forest school’ after a three-year project.

Canolfan Enfys, a school in Mold for children between 3 and 7-years-old with additional learning needs, believe the new outdoor space will help to engage their young, challenging students.

It is hoped that the forest school will enable children to develop their social and learning skills in a holistic way and lead them to be able to return to mainstream schooling.

The idea to reinvigorate the space was first conceived back in 2015 by the learning manager at Canolfan Enfys, Carol Speed, and the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club member, Paul Islip.

And thanks to the combined efforts of a number of Flintshire-based groups and businesses, the new forest school replaces what was previously a ‘condemned playground’.

Speaking to the Leader after the unveiling of the forest school, Mrs Speed said: “I started working here in 2013 and there was a lot of work that needed to be done.

“The playground was in a very bad condition with the rubber flooring all torn up and the wooden castle in bad shape too.

“So, I eventually spoke about it with Paul (Islip) who was helping us to get seating for the school and that’s where it all started and work finally began around Easter 2016.

“It’s such a great project that was all paid for by a number of Flintshire businesses, and it will really help the kids that we have with quite severe problems.

“It’s been a long journey, and I’m looking forward to the new children seeing it when they come back in September.”

About the recent transformation, Mr Islip, of the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club, added: “It was a condemned playground with rotten rubber matting in a space that was left far too unsafe to use.

“So, we had the ground levelled before adding a new layer of top-soil to make a forest school which will allow the children to learn outdoors in an environment that will better suit their needs.

“It’s taken three years, which was mostly because of all the planting and growing of trees that we had to do, but it’s been worth it.”

Children at Canolfan Enfys will get their first experience of the new forest school when they return to the centre on Wednesday, September 4.

The project was funded by and completed with support from the Flint and Holywell Rotary Club, Mold Lions, Hollingsworth Group, Puritan Stone, Westbridge Furniture, Thorncliffe Builders Merchants, Simon O`Rourke, P&A Group and Truwood Furniture.

The outdoor upgrade is another positive change for Canolfan Enfys which was previously called ‘The Assessment Centre Special School’ before becoming a Welsh translation of ‘Rainbow Centre’.