Local school helps mark opening of Franciscan View
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Pupils from St Joseph Catholic school joined residents from the brand new 54 apartment older peoples scheme to reveal their community themed artwork.
At a special opening ‘tea party’ last week (Tues 19th Nov) pupils from Year five unveiled a unique jigsaw style mural; depicting areas of Lichfield where community spirit is strong. The final piece of the jigsaw represents the relationship between pupils of the primary school and the older people at Franciscan View.
The artwork, titled “Community – young and old together” was created as part of a geography project, and now takes pride of place in the communal lounge of the £8m development.
The class also had a chance to look inside the apartments and friary car park, the first time they had visited since seeing the building while it was just a metal frame at the end of last year; part of a unique ‘Open Doors’ event which gave the public an opportunity to visit a live construction site.
The 9-10 year olds were given a guided tour by Bromford development colleagues, discovering how the building was put together like ‘a giant Meccano set’, and comparing the difference from what they saw in November last year to the finished building today.
Nine year old pupil Niamh Lliff, from Elford, said:
"When we first came to visit the building site, it was all metal and you couldn’t imagine what it was going to be like. Now we’ve come back, you can see a massive difference.
“Our art project was really fun and it bought old people and young people together. Each piece is based on a different scene like the train station or the park. We decided to make it like this because whether you are old or young, you can always have something in common."
Year five teacher Mrs Rebecca Thomas said:
“Our pupils really enjoyed the tour, meeting the residents, seeing their artwork on display and of course, the cakes baked by the residents.
“The class are desperate to visit again and are already begging me to ask if they could sing some carols towards the end of term They've even suggested that they’ll do the baking this time.”
Franciscan view resident Floss Orr, aged 89, has been involved in the Friary Outer development from the start, as part of the resident committee. She said:
“I’ve got 13 great-grandchildren, so I am used to kids. The school pupils were all so well mannered.
“The artwork is lovely, it’s really nice with all the jigsaw pieces and is a perfect memento of the things we’ve done with the school. Seeing the building go up has been really lovely, it’s a great place to live now we’re all finally in.”
Dominique Pearce, Bromford projects manager, has been at the heart of both the Friary Outer development and putting St Joseph’s in touch with residents. She said:
"The tea party was a fantastic event, and a great way to celebrate the relationship between the school and Franciscan View. Having spoken to the residents and the pupils, I know everyone is keen to make the community links permanent.
"Franciscan View and the Friary Outer project has been a long journey, but it's fantastic to finally see the residents settle into their brand new flats. This has been a unique experience for us, as our customers have been involved in every step of the process; from choosing their fixtures and fittings, to touring the development while it was still in construction."
Since the first spade hit the ground in February 2012 at a special sod-cutting event, the site has seen a massive transformation with the 54-apartment older person scheme sitting alongside a 400 space car park, six shared-ownership homes and now a Premier Inn hotel.