A talented artist has worked with a Jarrow primary school to transform its library. St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, worked with artist Geri Park, from Creative Space, on the project.

The Friends of St Matthew’s group was awarded a £1,000 grant from The Community Foundation to create an inspiring space for children to read and learn. The artist worked with all the classes to create artwork for an enchanted forest mural.

Headteacher Eve Alderson said: “This has been a wonderful project which has involved the whole school community. Our children have worked with an incredible artist, Geri Park, to create an amazing, imaginative library space which will be used to inspire our children to truly appreciate how enjoyable reading for pleasure can be. We are so grateful to Geri, our fantastic Friends of St Matthew’s and The Community Foundation for allowing this project to come to life and for all their support.

To celebrate the vibrant new reading space, every class enjoyed a story with storyteller, Chris Bostock. The school also held a Royal Library Launch, a Coronation-themed after-school event including a tug of war competition, candy floss and cakes, which went down a treat with the children and adults alike.

The children all helped with the design of the library by choosing their favourite book characters and our Friends of St Matthew’s helped to reorganise the library, paint the mural and design new posters,” added Mrs Alderson. “Parents and carers also donated books for our library, which we are very grateful for. Children will be using the library to enjoy storytime each week, paired reading and will also be choosing books to take home to share with their parents, inspiring a love of reading for pleasure. All the children have received their bookmarks from BCCET to use in the books they will loan from the library.

Tori Sheraton, chair of the Friends of St Matthew’s, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the transformation of St Matthew’s School Library. As parents and carers of children at the school, we work really closely with the staff and know how tough times are for all schools financially. The grant from the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and the amazing talent of Creative Space and our wonderful pupils has made such a huge difference. The library is now a bright and colourful space which we’re sure will inspire the children to grow their love of reading for years to come.

The Community Foundation, based in Newcastle, matches generous people with important community causes. Every year, they award grants to hundreds of small charities in Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, and across the north-east.

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.