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Five Acre Wood School in Maidstone gets two new ponies with help from volunteers

Two new animals are ready to prance into their new home at a Maidstone school.

Already home to some adorable puppies, Five Acre Wood School in Boughton Lane now has its very own stables as it prepares to host two ponies.

The ponies are set to be loved and cared for by pupils at the school for children with special educational needs.

Fundraiser at the school Alex Meaders said: "We have children who are tense all the time and have behavioural difficulties, but they relax around these ponies.

"They'll be looked after by our pupils, it gives them really important life skills.

"A lot of employers don't hire or aren't able to hire people with special educational needs, but by learning stable management it's giving our kids a skill they could use in a job."

Volunteers have built stables at the school visited today by ponies from LuLu Pony Parties, pictured Ellie 8, Joe 8 and Raymond from Woodpecker class with volunteers and parents and LuLu the pony.Picture: Sean Aidan (11918561)
Volunteers have built stables at the school visited today by ponies from LuLu Pony Parties, pictured Ellie 8, Joe 8 and Raymond from Woodpecker class with volunteers and parents and LuLu the pony.Picture: Sean Aidan (11918561)

The idea for a stable came at Christmas when the school invited ponies into a class.

After seeing the effect the young foals had, Lulu's Pony Parties, based in Maidstone, offered two ponies to stay full time.

The school has enlisted the help of dozens of volunteers to build a home for the animals.

Paul Atkinson, horticulture specialist, Chris Miller and Anthony Diprose from Lloyds bank, both helped with the construction work and LuLu the pony. Picture: Sean Aidan (11918564)
Paul Atkinson, horticulture specialist, Chris Miller and Anthony Diprose from Lloyds bank, both helped with the construction work and LuLu the pony. Picture: Sean Aidan (11918564)

Mrs Meaders said: "We've had a lot of help from a Lloyds Bank in Gillingham over the years.

"Sadly they've closed but they wanted a swan song.

"Their boss let the whole team have time off to help us with a project, that's when we decided it was a chance build the stable.

"These were men and women who work behind desks all day, but they've managed to clear a field and build all of this, putting up fences and laying paths. They really threw themselves into it.

Katie Bell, Julie Jones, Sprat and LuLu, Emily Rollinson and Dee Thrussell at Five Acre Wood School's new stable. Picture: Sean Aidan (11918576)
Katie Bell, Julie Jones, Sprat and LuLu, Emily Rollinson and Dee Thrussell at Five Acre Wood School's new stable. Picture: Sean Aidan (11918576)

"If we had to pay labour costs this would have to come around £60,000.

"When we paid for materials Challenge Fencing and Gallagher both took off a lot of their normal price, everyone has been so supportive."

The pair of ponies are the latest animals to live at the school and help pupils learn.

Mrs Meaders said: "We have therapy dogs in class and guinea pigs, recently some ducklings hatched in class. We're becoming a little menagerie.

"It's so exciting, especially for the children. They see this egg as something they eat but there's a real little life in there and they got to see it hatching."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone.

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