Connor Downs Academy Play Area

£24,000 grant enabled Connor Downs Academy to provide the children with an exciting new play area.  The children provided their own ideas which were included in the final design.  The activities were carefully chosen to allow all children the freedom to engage in the challenges.  The children have loved playing on the new equipment and their laughter and smiling faces say it all.  Outdoor learning and play are essential for the children, Connor Downs Academy will always be looking at ways to maximise the space with Cultivating Futures.

FSC certified timber was used and recycled rubber crumb in the safety surface, supporting the school’s sustainability values. 

“Me and all my friends thinks its amazing.  I do need to grow a bit to go on the chain bit though!” Elsie, Reception Class

“Thank you for our new play equipment.  We are very lucky to have it as it is so much fun.  I love swinging on the monkey bards and the wobbly bridge makes me laugh when I try walking across with no hands.  We can have lots of exercise out in the sun and have learnt to be careful on it.  I can’t wait to use it again in the summer” Kerra, Year 2

“It’s a lot of fun and I really like the climbing wall” Noah R, Year 6

On behalf of the children and school community at Connor Downs Academy.  I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Friends of Connor Downs for submitting a successful bid to Gwinear Gwithian Sustainable Community Fund to purchase and install our amazing new outdoor play equipment. 

Without the support of our dedicated Friends group and the generosity of GGSCF, play equipment of such high quality would not be able to be funded from the school budget. 

The current children attending school have been delighted to play collaboratively on the equipment, demonstrating such energy and enthusiasm.  We are thrilled that the sustainability of the play equipment will afford many future cohorts of children the joy of experiencing such high-quality outdoor play” Jan Eddy, Headteacher

Connor Downs and Gwithian WI

Connor Downs WI Hall is used on a daily basis by individuals, groups and clubs as well as a venue for public meetings and polling and is widely regarded as a community asset. It has ramps for the disabled, however, access to the building was restricted by the gravel to the front and side of the hall. £1,380 grant for a concrete path extending from the ramp to the pavement enabled access for all users. 

Gwinear Primary Outdoor Area Phase 2

£13,682 grant enabled the school’s vision to place outdoor learning at the heart of its curriculum for children to grow to appreciate the outdoors by being continually immersed in it.  The enhancements to the school grounds funded by this project have given the school an outstanding resource to make this possible.  Every class has benefitted and the areas have been used by all teachers to base lessons across the curriculum and are also used by the children to enrich play based activities during lunch and break times.  The school is developing a county wide reputation for excellence in its outdoor provision that draws both prospective parents and staff members that wish to work in such an environment and this has been greatly aided by the project. The map with photos gives some perspective on how the grounds now support learning but a more comprehensive view can be seen by using the interactive tour on the website:

Benjamin Y3 “The Outdoor Table is good to play at with my friends. The cloud chamber is great to lay in and refresh”

Seren Y4 I like to relax in the cloud chamber and read in there with my friends.

Olivia Y6 I like using the construction area. We make pretend horse jumps and teach the younger children how to ride invisible horses”

Greta Y6 “I like all the climbing equipment and the balance walkways – we make mini challenges for each other and I have got stronger and more flexible using it.”

Valentino Y6 “I like making shelters with the construction equipment and I love lessons we have at the amphitheatre- singing and role play.”

Lanza Y2 “ I like doing tricks on the bars and I liked using the amphitheatre when we were learning about maps and when we do drama there”

Jack Y2 “I like using the building stuff in the construction area at lunchtime and I liked making wands at the lookout tower and making potions at the outdoor class table in Science”.

Gwinear School Interactive Map – Google Slides

Connor Downs Academy Replacement Windows

£6,990 grant enabled Connor Downs Academy to provide Year 4 and Year 6 children and teachers with a comfortable classroom environment.  The windows have been replaced with new energy efficient double-glazed windows, which will save money by reducing the amount of energy needed to heat the rooms and prevent heat being lost, they also reduce the noise from outside creating a peaceful and warm environment where the children can concentrate on their learning. The project has improved the well-being of the children and staff, who are delighted with the new windows.    

“Wow! What an amazing transformation the new windows have made to the Year 6 classroom.  It is so much warmer and quieter for both adults and children.  It has made such a big difference, thank you.”  Mrs Smitheram, Teaching Assistant.

“The new windows are better as they keep the heat inside, saving energy.  Our classroom now feels warmer and cosy to work in.”  Olivia Brigden, Year 6

“The new windows are great, the classroom is warm and the rain doesn’t come in.”  Aiden Rogers, Year 4

Connor Downs Academy Solar Panels

£20,500 grant awarded to the Friends of Connor Downs for installing solar panels to secure and promote a sustainable future for the Academy.  The solar panels compliment the Rainwater Harvesting System as an additional resource when teaching the children about the weather, environment and sustainability.  The project has benefitted the school with significant savings on the electricity bills allowing money to be spent on extra resources to support and enhance the children’s learning; reduction of CO2 emission, combating climate change; communicating the benefits of sustainability using a working example of the solar panels; inspiring the wider community to take action to address climate change and environmental issues; and providing each family within the school community with a  printed booklet ‘Looking Toward Our Green Future’ to bring awareness about sustainability and recycling.

‘The installation of the solar panels at Connor Downs Academy has been instrumental in educating our school community on the importance and value of renewable solar energy as part of dealing with the climate crisis.  Along with reducing energy costs, the solar panels have reminded us that we can work collaboratively to reduce greenhouse emission and to limit our collective dependence on fossil fuels.  The sustainability of the solar panels provides long term environmental benefits to the school community.’ Mrs J Eddy, Head of School

‘Solar panels are good because they make electricity and are good for the environment.’ Henry J, Year 4

I think the solar panels at our school are great, as they provide a clean and renewable energy source for our future by stopping us from using coal and gas which causes air and water pollution.  The school will benefit from saving money too and can buy more resources to help us learn.’ Chloe S, Year 5

‘It’s great having solar panels at school as it helps us become more eco-friendly.’ Liam T, Year 6 

Connor Downs School Rainwater Harvesting and Distribution System

£5,182.36 grant awarded to the Friends of Connor Downs for their Rainwater Harvesting and Distribution System to provide facilities and resources to enhance the education and wellbeing of the children.  The project adds value and a new dimension to the outdoor learning area. The children are educated in subjects relating to the weather, sustainability and the protection of the environment, the project shows the children how the rainwater is collected and then distributed within the Cultivating Futures area.  The weather station helps to monitor the rainfall and weather patterns to allow for efficient and effective usage and has assisted learning the difference between weather and climate.  The children are passionate about the plants and vegetables they grow, the timed irrigation system ensures the plants are watered when required allowing the children more time to nurture their growing areas.  Recycling the rainwater has benefited the school immensely by reducing the need to use mains water. 

‘This has been an amazing and valuable system that complements our Cultivating Futures eco themes and lessons including climate change, the weather and the RHS ‘I can grow scheme’.  It is hugely influential in helping our children learn about water and conservation’. K Costello, Outdoor Learning Leader

During the lessons, the system has provoked many thoughts and questions from the children:

‘What is the difference between rain water and tap water and can we drink it?’

‘Why do we not have these in more homes to help collect water if the water is so valuable?’

‘What happens if we have no rain for a long time?’.

Hall for Gwinear Replacement Windows

Hall for Gwinear received £14,003.45 to replace their windows as part of their energy conservation programme.

Speed Monitoring Signs for Gwithian Residents Association

‘All Gwithian residents and those who visit or travel through benefit from the sign.’

‘It is already noticeable how much slower traffic is travelling on entering the village.  This is especially valuable at busy times of year. ‘

Sandcastles Preschool

Sandcastles Preschool received £3,500 in July 2018 for redecoration giving the building a much need update and allowing the Preschool to advertise is location. The redecorating was completed in a short turnaround over the summer holidays.  Completing the work for the start of the school term was challenging but by working collaboratively it was achieved. The building is now bright and inviting reflecting the great childcare provision offered.

The staff were thrilled with the results:

“When I walked into the building I wanted to cry because I was so happy.” Janice Dale, Sandcastles Manager.

 “It looks amazing.” Tania Cooke, Sandcastles Staff.

 “People I have met in the village have stopped me to say much nicer the building looks and how nice the signs are.” Lisa Goodall, Committee Member

Reawla Park Project

Gwinear and District villages Association (GVA) applied for £21,700 towards the Reawla Park Project to create a park which is a safe and attractive place to visit, providing a variety of facilities for all ages and abilities as well as a place where the community can come together, thereby strengthening community spirit. The project was completed in November 2018.

The GGSCF grant equated to approx.26% of the overall costs in the project.  The GVA were heavily involved in the Reawla Park project being part of the working group that undertook the project.  The materials used are sympathetic, sustainable and hard wearing, the park has been designed in a way that softens the edges and creates an oasis in the middle of housing.  An interactive pathway links one side of the village to the other.  All will benefit from the park as there is play equipment, seating, shelters, gardens, wheelchair access, sensual plants and surfaces. The new play equipment has been integrated between the gardens and the new undulating landscape helps capture the children’s imaginations and pushes their boundaries.

The community working together has been a huge success including the Probation Service who refurbished the existing play equipment, the children from Gwinear School who helped with the planting, local residents helping with community planting days, donations of two good sized trees and two very large sacks of daffodil bulbs shows just how important Reawla Park is to everyone.  The whole community is over the moon with the project.

The GVA are talking with local residents to set up a ‘Friends of Reawla Park’ group for gardening tasks.

“So great to see the kids enjoying the new park!”

“I walked through yesterday to the shop and all the kids were having so much fun.”

“What a difference!!  Well done to everyone involved!!” (from the Reawla Park facebook page)


Gwithian Residents Association

Gwithian Residents Association applied for £12,869.05 in July 2018 to replace their present boardwalk and two sets of handrails with recycled plastic.  The boardwalks have a 25yr guarantee and are slightly raised to prevent submergence following heavy rainfall.

The boardwalks ensure the long term protection of the pathways and enable access to the main habitats of the local nature reserve for benefit of people of all ages including dog walkers, members of the local community, educational establishments and visitors who come to the Green partly because it is a Local Nature Reserve to observe and/or record the flora and fauna and to undertake habitat and wildlife surveys including the weekly walked butterfly transects.

“It looks very nice, a vast improvement which will make it more accessible for the local community and for our visitors” (Mike and Claire owners of the Gwithian Farm Caravan and Campsite)

“It is brilliant, more robust and I particularly like the fact that it has been slightly raised” (Jude, local resident and dog walker)

“I walk the weekly butterfly transect and I am also a keen naturalist. It looks smart and safe and gives the right impression of a local nature reserve which is looked after for the benefits of all” (Sally, local resident)


Connor Downs School IT

Friends of Connor Downs School applied for £8,000 in 2016 to provide students at the school with iPads, educational Lego sets and a time-lapse camera. The 20 iPads and cases have only recently arrived at the school, but are being used in lessons already, enabling children to use them, together with the Lego, to explore robotics, and programming. In addition, the children will be able to use the iPads to research other topics, on the internet, as an activity the whole class can actively participate in.
The time-lapse camera is being used to demonstrate change over the passage of time, which the younger children in particular find hard to grasp. There are plans to situate the camera at different points around the school, to chapture changing seasons, and growth of plants on the site.

The grant funding meant that the Friends of the School could purchase these items, which would otherwise have been beyond their budget, and it is hoped that the chidlren will all the pupils to make good progress and reach their full potential.

“That was the best lesson ever, I can’t wait to do more!” – Tyler, yr 5, after a computing lesson with the iPads and Lego
“The children learnt so much and were so engaged with the technology.” – Mrs Patterson yr 5 teacher.
“It’s great to have iPads that we can all use. I really liked finding out about the animals in the rainforest.” – Beth, yr 4



 Wall Village Hall Disabled Toilet – Wall Village Hall Committee

In May 2016 £2750 was awarded to the Wall Village Hall Committee to construct a new disabled toilet cubicle to update the existing facility and also to include an additional toilet and baby changing unit.   This new toilet will benefit all visitors who attend the many groups, parties and events that are held there.


Christmas Lights – Gwithian Residents Association

In May 2015 £1526.80 was awarded to the Gwithian Residents Association to replace some of their Christmas lights with low energy lights for their ‘Light for a Life’ celebrations.  This is one of the main community events with in the village and the grant allowed provision of modern, low cost lighting to secure the continuation of the event for years to come.

The association recorded a dramatic reduction in energy consumption used in the festive period 2015 on the previous year.

Photos to follow.

Christmas Lights – Connor Downs Residents Association

In November 2015 £2000 was awarded to the Connor Downs Residents Association to be able to replace some of their Christmas Lights in readiness for 2015 switch on.

The village residents commented on how nice it was to see the new modern lights and how bright the Christmas tree looked with the LED lighting.

Photos to follow.

Sunday School Heating – Connor Downs Residents Association

In May 2015 £2140.80 was awarded to Connor Downs Residents Association to be able to reconfigure and upgrade the heating system in the Sunday School.

As the premises were used regularly by the Sunday School and the Sandcastles Playgroup the heating system has greatly improved the environment and has become more welcoming..  These improvements have attracted  other community groups and individuals to use the Sunday School.

Christmas Lights – Pen Tye Residents Association

£421.80 has been awarded to Pen Tye Residents Association for the purchase of low energy light bulbs to enable them to start a Christmas celebration in the village.

School Minibus – Gwinear School

In May 2015 £17,000 was been awarded to Gwinear PTFA to purchase a mini bus to service Gwinear School and other community groups.  So far the minibus has enabled the school pupils to participate in a wider range of inter school sporting events,  smaller weekly swimming classes and  class excursions to museums and galleries.

The new mini bus has enabled pupils to assess opportunities that were not available before due to the costs of hiring in transport.

The pupils are thrilled with their new bus and feel proud to use it:

“We can go out a lot more and do outdoor learning and running XL which I really enjoy” – Thomas, pupil

“I like using it to go swimming,  I like listening to music on the way” – Gemma, pupil

“It’s easier to travel around and the best place is Crenver Grove because it’s great to explore” – Charlie – pupil

The children are excited to welcome their new mini bus

Ready steady go!










Cedar Lodge for Connor Downs School

In May 2015 £6360.60 was been awarded to The Friends of Connor Downs School for the purchase of a cedar lodge and planters as part of their ‘Cultivating Futures’ project.

The Cedar Lodge is an outdoor classroom which is used by not only Connor Downs School but also the Sandcastles Pre-School group and other local community groups.

This new classroom has enabled children to really benefit from working in the outdoor environment and gives a multi-sensory approach to learning.

Below are some of the quotes from users:

“It is more fun learning outside!” – Liam, pupil

“We can make anything we want” – Kacey, pupil

“This learning zone gives an additional aspect to the teaching of subjects, it allows you to mix the outdoors and indoors seamlessly” – Mr B, teacher

The children enjoying their reading time alfresco!

A popular play area.

A Thank You from the children!







Bees on the Green – Gwithian Residents Association

Bee’s being introduced

£1500 has been awarded to Gwithian Residents Association to introduce Honey Bees on Gwithian Green.

On the 25th May 2015 the bees were introduced to their new hives.
Two hives were purchased and populated with the aid of the grant funding along with all the equipment required to maintain a healthy swam.  Extra funding was applied for to enable two villagers to complete a bee keeping course at Duchy College.

The production of honey is expected in the near future and the income from this will go towards the ongoing costs of keeping these bees and all the benefits they bring to the local environment.


Towans Ranger Project – Protecting the Towans from Hayle to Godrevy

In October 2015 £4050 was awarded to the Towans Partnership for 3 interpretation boards to be placed at Mexico Towans, Gwithian Towans and St Gothian Sands.

Each board contains a map of the Towans reflecting the topography of the area with access routes and key features.  The boards are all in locations with full public access and close to holiday accommodation.  The purpose of these baords is to raise the profile of the Towan’s partnership and also the importance of protecting this environment and wildlife for future generations.

Gwithian Towans

St Gothian

Mexico Towans


Gwinear School received funding for various projects

1 Solar thermal project. Solar thermal system to produce some of the hot water for use in school kitchen, along with highly insulated and efficient emersion tank. Replaces 2 old inefficient hot water tanks. A display in school entrance shows energy produced, which will be used by the children in the curriculum. The sun provides some of the energy for the heating of the water used in the school kitchen. The water then stays hot because of a super-efficient hot water tank.

2 Purchase of ipads and cameras. Cameras and ipads for curriculum work on sustainable development, outdoor education etc. We have purchased 2 sets of 10 ipads, which have integral cameras. These are used at the point of learning by every child in the school.

3 Loft Insulation. To install or increase insulation in loft areas where needed. To reduce heat loss, so that the building feels warmer and energy is saved. This was recommended by Community Energy Plus.

This has resulted in the following benefits

1 Solar thermal project

The cook confirms that there is always a plentiful supply of hot water at the correct temperature.

Pupils benefit because of the saving of money – which enables us to buy essential resources for the curriculum

Pupils benefit from learning first hand about the importance of sustainable energy sources.

There is a benefit to the community as we are doing our bit to provide local sustainable energy and reduce carbon emissions.

2 Purchase of ipads and cameras

Over the last year we have used our new iPad extensively through all the classes and all areas of the curriculum, due to their portability, durability and speed of access to not only the downloaded apps but also to the internet. There has been work across the curriculum and especially on sustainability.

3 Loft Insulation

Children and adults at school will benefit from a warmer school and children will ultimately benefit from money saved.

We are now open to receive grant applications

So please download an application form to complete and return.

Please contact our administrator Kerry Horner if you have any queries.

We look forward to receiving your application.