School rules with Energy for Children funding boost

Pupils at an East Belfast school have received a boost with the development of a new outdoor sensory space in the school grounds, funded by the Energy for Children Charitable Trust.

Supporting 25 pupils with a range of social, emotional, behavioural and wellbeing needs, Clarawood Special School provides a safe space for learning and development, with a relentless focus on developing all pupils in their care to be the best they can be.

Having invested in an indoor sensory room at the school some time ago there was a real need to further provide sensory learning experiences and with the funding boost from Energy for Children an under-utilised courtyard area in the school grounds has been transformed to provide a safe space for outdoor play, learning and self-regulation.

The new sensory space is already adding value to the school and its pupils as Mr Rae from Clarawood School explains; “We work with some of the most vulnerable and special young people in Belfast, each of which comes with their own needs and set of circumstances.  We strive to help every one of our children be the best version of themselves and that means being equipped to deal with a range of issues.

In the classroom pupils can often become upset, anxious and frustrated as they try and regulate their emotions, having access to a safe space where they can become calm and have their sensory needs met is invaluable in enabling them to return to the classroom to continue learning.

The outdoor sensory space has been hugely beneficial for the entire school community, especially in the last few months where there have been so many other challenges for our young people as a result of the pandemic.  We are so grateful for the support of the Energy for Children Charitable Trust to fund the equipment for the sensory space which will be an integral part of our school for many years to come.  It simply wouldn’t be here now without them”.

Charity Liaison Officer, Gillian Orr said, “I’m delighted to see how much of a difference the funding has made to the entire community at Clarawood School and it’s great to hear the many ways in which it can be used to help the children learn, develop and regulate their emotions every day.

“This is exactly why the Charity exists, to help local children who are most in need and to provide facilities and equipment to make things better for them”, added Gillian.

Energy for Children is an initiative of Phoenix Natural Gas and the wider natural gas industry. The Charity was established in 2005 to provide financial support to groups and individuals that may slip through the net of the wider charity network.

Founded on the principle that ‘all monies raised go directly to local children and young people’, the Trust aims to reach deeper into the heart of local communities throughout Greater Belfast and beyond in order to really make a difference to disadvantaged children’s lives.

Since its formation, the trust has helped over 8,000 local children and continues to help those who need it most.

For more information on the Energy for Children Charitable Trust, visit