THE first of 350 trees have been planted by schoolchildren as part of a project that will see a mini sanctuary created for wildlife and wildflowers.

Large stretches of unused and run-down land are being transformed at Twelve Apostles School in Westleigh as the council looks to accelerate its Naturalising The Borough ambitions.

The aim is to transform an area to the southern boundary of the school’s KS1 playground into a wildlife corridor by connecting the green space of the western end of the school grounds to the wildlife area to the east.

A wide variety of trees are scheduled to be planted in the school’s surroundings with Alder, Beech, Bird Cherry, Grey Willow and Silver Birch species all counted for.

Cllr Paul Prescott, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “It’s fantastic to see another project like this get off the ground and have the input of children from the outset as it is our wish and the school’s for this wildlife haven to be enjoyed by generations to come.

“It’s fantastic to see another school in the borough that is keen to expand their schoolchildren’s learning and experiences and we look forward to working with staff and children across the borough on more eco-minded schemes.”

The school planting is part of wider ambitions by the council to attract wildlife and species of wildflowers never usually seen in the borough.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak and resulting extended break from grass cutting services, council officers were able to spot new possibilities for the borough and in conjunction with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, identify areas which could benefit from increased biodiversity.

Twelve Apostles headteacher Sheenagh Newton said: “The children and staff are really excited about this project and appreciative of the support and funding. This will be a wonderful opportunity for our children and look great for all the local residents.

“Not only will it lead to better outdoor spaces for everyone, especially our children, it will help to combat climate change and enhance biodiversity, and improved mental and physical health for all.”

Wigan Council started working with the school earlier this year to secure sponsorship so the area could be rejuvenated and be enjoyed by pupils and local residents.

Two local housing developers, Countryside and Brookhouse, have kindly pledged support to the programme with £1,500 and £300 donations respectively.

Any schools or community groups who think they have suitable space for trees/wildflowers or would like some advice then feel free to contact the team at