SIXTEEN schools in Castle Point have been awarded a £77,000 boost for pupils to study the history of the Olympics and Paralympics.

The Benfleet and Thundersley Interschool Cluster Trust has been awarded the investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund to spearhead a new schools project on the heritage of the Games and their influence on the community.

The scheme will see dozens of pupils at primary and secondary schools in Benfleet and Thundersley documenting the stories of local Olympians and residents involved in the sports.

Youngsters will also enjoy educational and historical tours of the Hadleigh Farm venue in Chapel Lane which hosted the Olympic Mountain Biking event last August attracting 40,000 sports fans.

Steve Bish, BATIC Trust Manager said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and have confidence that the project will excite young people to learn about local heritage.

“The project has great momentum across the 16 schools with each school focusing their research on a particular theme. We are particularly looking forward to the “Celebration Event” planned for 17th July at the old Hadleigh Fire Station, an Olympic legacy building, where all of the schools will share their experiences and have an opportunity to present to each other”.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided £5.3billion to around 35,000 projects across the country from museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions.

In November the fund awarded £10,000 to the Hadleigh and Thundersley Community Archive which already has plans to revive the Hadleigh Gooseberry Fair, a pastime which was popular before the First World War, and stage yearly history fairs at the Hadleigh Old Fire Station, in High Street.

The BATIC Trust is a charitable organisation and was formed to enhance teaching, share facilities and increase the likelihood of obtaining thousands of pounds of additional grants.
Plans are also in the pipeline to apply to start up a new speech therapy project to help build students’ confidence and help those suffering from speech impediments.

The schools which have signed up are: the Deanes School, Hadleigh Infants and Nursery, Hadleigh Junior, Holy Family Catholic Primary, Jotmans Hall Primary, Kents Hill Infant, Kents Hill Junior, Kingston Primary, Montgomerie Infants School, Montgomerie Junior School, the Robert Drake Primary, South Benfleet Primary, Thundersley Primary, Westwood Primary, Woodham Ley Primary, Cedar Hall and Glenwood Schools.