Five-Minute Marvels: Appleton school artificial pitch
The Friends identified and targeted four main sources of funding:
Individuals – The chance to sponsor one square metre of the 1,250m² field for £10 allowed parents and community members to make a tangible contribution. Philip adds, “We also set up an online giving page on the BT Donate site, one of the best online giving sites, as charges are very low.”
Grants and foundations – The Friends looked at around 300 opportunities with the help of the Parentkind charitable grants database and Grants4Schools, and whittled these down to 20 whose eligibility criteria matched their needs. “Just three of these applications were successful, but this brought in a worthwhile £10,000 after six months of work.” They found that they were more successful with local funds, rather than national funds.
Local businesses and organisations – “Cold calling was less successful than the grants,” says Philip, “but we did get a local house builder to donate. Local builders often have a community pot, and are obligated to spend the money in the community.” Parents and extended family were asked — several times — if their employer had a charitable pot. “You constantly have to keep reminding people about the project and its benefits to the children,” says Philip. “It probably took us at least three attempts. Don’t give up — be persistent. We received a few thousand this way.”
Traditional – All the while, the Friends kept up the traditional PTA activities like cake sales, raffles, and fairs. In the end, this stream accounted for one third of the total funds.
How did it go?
“I still can’t believe it’s done,” says Philip. “I have to say last summer, after putting in so much effort, things just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. It wasn’t really until the autumn of 2015 that money started to really come in. I still have to pinch myself that we’ve done it!”
Headteacher Amy Carnell says, “The biggest benefit and thing the children enjoy the most is being able to have active lunchtimes throughout the year.” As well as high quality PE lessons, Appleton now provides many opportunities for children to take part in sporting fixtures. “This year our girls’ football team proceeded beyond the school level, playing at the South-East Regional finals. We also have a programme that encourages all children to stay active at playtimes, and we can now offer outdoor PE throughout the year.”
With thanks to Philip Briscoe of the Friends of Appleton School.