There were bright smiles all round this week as the head teacher and children from Millstead school in Everton paid a visit to thank the staff and locals from a Clubmoor pub for raising the funds for an adventure playground for them.

Farmers Arms Hotel, on Larkhill Lane, along with 613 other pubs and late night bars owned by Stonegate Pub Company, have raised £300,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity through its challenge ‘Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour’ this summer. Part of the funds will be donated to Millstead School on Iliad Street to build a brand new adventure playground for 105 pupils.

The school, which relocated to new premises this school year, caters for children with a statement of Special Educational Needs. Many of the pupils have either severe or profound learning difficulties along with a wide range of additional needs including Autistic Spectrum difficulties, severe sensory impairments, physical impairments including cerebral palsy and profound health needs.
Features in the new playground, which is expected to be completed over half-term, will include a climbing wall, monkey bars, castle themed walkway with hiding spaces, low-level balance bars and sunken trampolines. Michelle Beard, Head teacher of Millstead School said, “The aim of this project is to allow children and young people with and without physical disabilities access to a safe, secure and fully accessible environment. The Fully Accessible, Inclusive Outdoor Adventure Play areas will include; challenging climbing equipment, climbing walls, swings, fully accessible multi height play equipment and specific sensory areas. Having these facilities will allow us to host a range of activities for our children and community groups; it will also give us scope to invite other pupils with Special Education Needs and Disabilities within the City of Liverpool and neighbouring boroughs to share these facilities giving all the opportunity to thrive.”
Last month Farmers Arms Hotel was extensively refurbished with the introduction of a kitchen to cater for events, a new look function room and freshly redecorated bar areas. Under the new management of experienced licensees, Anne and Kenny Houghton, the Farmers Arms Hotel will increase its focus on supporting those in its community. Anne and Kenny have won numerous national industry awards for various pubs they have run across the North West including Wirral Globe’s Community Pub of the Year, Champion of Champions Pub and Top Innovation Pub for Laurel Pub Company, Top Family Pub and Top Food Pub, as well as finalist for Pub of the Year at Publican Awards.

“We are thrilled to be able to support, along with the other Liverpool based pubs in the Stonegate estate, Millstead School. Like the school with its new premises, it’s a new chapter for Farmers Arms Hotel too since our refurbishment. We are a community pub and love to support those in our area, sponsoring several football and darts teams as well as the bowls club which is based here at our own pub bowling green,” said Anne Houghton.

Joining them at the pub for the presentation was Jo Birchall, Liverpool-based Pop Idol finalist and singer songwriter of ‘All About Love’ Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour Official Charity Single. “The children absolutely loved dancing along as Jo Birchall, performed her single ‘All about Love’”, added Anne. “We look forward to visiting and seeing the children enjoying their new playground soon.”

The original aim of Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour was to raise £100,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity. This target was smashed in just six weeks of the nineteen week tour.

The biggest ever charity challenge taken on by pubs in the UK, a giant ‘Pledge Passport’ was been passed from pub to pub, visiting 614 pubs and travelling 5,555 miles. At each stop along the way, the pubs and their customers were challenged to host a momentous fundraising event and devise a quirky and unique way to transport the Pledge Passport onto its next destination. From waterskiing in Blackpool to hare and tortoise racing in Lincoln, the BBPT Passport was literally carried using hundreds of different methods. The donation of the adventure playground follows the gift of a TomKat Trike to Zeid, aged 6, also from Liverpool via BBPT.

Variety Chief Barker, Trevor Green, said: “The achievements of Stonegate Pub Company and its customers has been nothing short of phenomenal. We are truly grateful on behalf of the many youngsters and their families who will benefit from their fundraising. Britain’s Biggest Pub Tour has been the single biggest fundraising challenge ever undertaken for Variety, the Children’s Charity and has meant that we can provide five specially adapted Variety Sunshine Coaches to schools and community groups the UK as well as fund life-changing equipment for many more children and young people.”

As part of the fundraising proceeds from the sale of BBPT’s official single Jo Birchall’s All About Love, will go to the charity. The single is available to download on iTunes single/id887455726?ls=1 single/id887455726?ls=1