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Students in grades three to six at Yarram Primary School are in for a big surprise when they return to school on Monday: there’s a brand new $32,000 playground for them to play on.

The new playground has been installed and now stands ready to challenge the students, many of whom have not been within the schoolyard since March.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester visited the school this week to see the new play equipment.

“Yarram Primary was among 11 schools across Gippsland to be allocated up to $20,000 for small-scale projects, with a total of $200,000 allocated to schools in Gippsland under the Federal Government’s Local Schools Community Fund,” Mr Chester said.

“It’s a great pleasure to be able to help some of our local schools to realise projects they would otherwise struggle to complete,” Mr Chester said. “Times are tough for communities across Gippsland and fundraising can be difficult.

“Our schools are the focus of many towns and districts, so by supporting our schools we are supporting our community. As many people know, a school playground in a small community can be used every day of the week.”

Yarram Primary School Parents Club and Junior School Council made up the $12,000 shortfall through its fundraising efforts to meet the total cost of the project.

School principal Penny Earle said the school had wanted a new playground for its middle and senior students for the past five years.

“We had a space for it, but not the funds. Our community has undergone some tough times of late and fundraising was tight,” Ms Earle said. “This grant put the new playground within our reach.”

Ms Earle said the old playground did little to inspire the older students, either mentally or physically.

“We want the students to develop a love of outdoor physical activity and this new playground will do just that,” Ms Earle said. “Our new playground is designed to get our year three to six students to move, play and challenge themselves. I think it will do just that.

“We hope they will discover the mental and physical benefits of being active, rather than focusing on electronic devices.”

With government restrictions on the use of playgrounds now lifted, the new playground will be open to the community outside of school hours, including at weekends and during the holidays.  It will also be used by children taking part in before and after school and holiday care programs.

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