A school for children with learning difficulties and complex needs in Stockport has sadly been vandalised, leaving the students without a beloved learning facility.
Castle Hill High School in Offerton — formerly known as Offerton School — was reopened as a community specialist education school back in 2014 after moving from its original site in the Brinnington area of the borough, and currently teaches and looks after around 325 students.
Taking in kids from ages 11-18, Castle Hill has remained an important educational facility for those living in Stockport and has regularly held an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating, providing its pupils with access to everything from science labs, food technology rooms and design workshops to computer suites, art rooms, multi-use sports and games area and much more.
One of the aspects the school and its students were most proud of was the ‘Forest School‘: an outdoor-focused learning approach which sees children interact with their environment and others in it. In the case of Castle Hill, these lessons originated in a specially-designed container located at the back of the school but, sadly, during the recent half-term break, the facility was destroyed.
Gemma Minshull, whose 12-year-old daughter Maddie attends the school, says that she and countless other kids were “left so upset” by the arson and has since issued a plea online, asking Stockport locals and surrounding communities to “please help us to restore our beloved forest school”.
As she explained, “During the half-term break an intruder broke into the school grounds, deliberately setting fire to the forest school container, destroying everything.”
“The Forest School is an amazing educational approach to outdoor learning, designed to inspire all pupils. The real power of Forest School is its multi-sensory environment. This child-centred learning is integral in meeting the needs of the diverse range of children who attend Castle Hill High School.”
Setting up a GoFundMe to try and raise enough money to replace everything lost, Gemma went on to reiterate the importance of the forest school, emphasising that it can be key in helping children “work closely with others… gaining more independence, develop confidence, self-esteem” and more.
On a brighter note, in less than a week more than £6,340 has been raised to help replace everything that was lost in the blaze, including replacing the cargo container hub itself, wellies and other items. Local taxi company Lynx Taxis even donated £2,000 outright upon hearing the news.
Offerton locals have even been donating wellies and coats of their own for when it gets back up and running. Speaking to the MEN, teacher John Hadley, who has worked at the school for over six years says, says the staff have been overwhelmed by the support.
“It’s been amazing, we have been bowled over. There’s been a real outpour and a huge coming-together”, he said, once again reinforcing how much these students get from “being in a multi-sensory environment”.
You can do your bit to help by donating to the fundraiser HERE.
Featured Image — Castle Hill School/Wikimedia Commons/Gemma Minshull
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”