Charitable Efforts and Dedication Secure New Scooter Shelter
After registering as a charity and adopting the Parentkind constitution, the Friends of Bramham School embarked upon a new fundraising goal – to provide the children with a long-awaited new scooter shelter.
We chatted with Georgina Mills, Chair of the Friends of Bramham School (FOBS), to find out how the PTA operates, and what led to their recent registering for charity status. “I went to a tiny village school and it had close links within the village,” Georgina explains. “I believe a thriving school helps a community prosper, and a vibrant community helps a school prosper. I try to play my part in helping this happen for my son’s school.”
Getting to Know FOBS
With the school positioned in-between Bramham and Clifford, people from both villages are welcome at FOBS events. “People are interested in what we do, and we host all sorts of events which are fun for children, parents, and families.”
A few of their community events include:
Halloween Spooktacular – Growing over a number of years, and now held in the village hall, this year’s event included a performance by a magician, a showcase from the dance school attended by some of the pupils, as well as spooky songs from the school choir!
Quiz nights – Full houses in the village hall, with local groups taking tables, adding to the competitive spirit.
Fun run for children – This was a response to the parish council’s 10K event for adults, which helped raise the profile of the school.
Golden Summer Fair – A celebration of the school’s 50th anniversary. As well as traditional games and stalls, a display of stories, photos, and newspaper clippings from over the years was created, having sought contributions from former pupils, staff, and parents. Everyone enjoyed a nostalgic trip down memory lane, and raised an incredible £3,400.
Maximising their Impacts
Georgina shared some of FOBS’ techniques which help their events to succeed. “We’re keen that community groups work together, because you achieve more. Everybody wants their local school to thrive and for children to have fun and opportunity. We tell people what we’re raising money for, so they know why their help is appreciated.
“We put on events which people in the village want to come to, raising money from a wider range of sources than just parents at school. We also aim to engage in community events arranged by others too – it’s beneficial for everyone.”
FOBS also make efforts to liaise with local press, and get their message out to the community. “By writing articles and sending them into the local newspaper, it helps to raise the profile of the school. The newspaper’s freelance photographer takes great photos! Children love seeing themselves in the paper, and their parents feel so proud.”
Becoming a Charity
“As the school was growing, and with a big project in mind, we felt it was time to register as a charity so we could apply for grants,” Georgina explains. “We adopted the Parentkind constitution which made the charity registration process much quicker. It gives trusts and foundations that might only give grants to charities more confidence to work with you.” Soon after this transition, FOBS identified the perfect fundraising project. “The children had wanted a scooter shelter for several years,” Georgina explained, after FOBS took the views of the different year groups’ representatives.
Georgina had never applied to grants before working with FOBS. “It’s something I have learned in my role on FOBS, but I enjoy persuasive writing and dealing with figures. I met with the parish councils of Bramham and neighbouring Clifford, and asked if they could support us in funding the new scooter shelter, as it would help reduce pressure from car parking and congestion on local roads. They offered £500 each. I also approached the Wetherby Lions Group, as they’re very supportive in the area. We received £1,000 from them, and another £400 from the local Leeds Festival’s Bramham Community Fund.”
Overall, FOBS raised £2,400 from grants and a further £1,200 from organised events supported by parents in order to fund the much-wanted addition to the school. To unveil the shelter, “We invited representatives who had supported our project to our official opening, presenting thank you cards that the children had made,” Georgina explains. “Two of the school council children cut the ribbons, and we also submitted an article to the local newspaper. We were really proud seeing the end result.”
FOBS aren’t planning to rest on their laurels, and they have already leapt into their next major project; raising money for an outdoor learning area. This will see an unused area of the school grounds revitalized with a dipping pond, classroom shelter, allotment, mini-orchard, a bug hotel, and much more – allowing the children to not just observe nature, but enabling teachers to deliver any lessons in the fresh air. “By getting outside, the children can put into practice concepts they’ve learned indoors, they can get hands-on, and it helps their understanding.” Georgina explains.
FOBS have already raised an impressive sum. “We still have some more funds to raise, but are hopeful and excited that the project can become a reality for the children and their teachers in the Spring of next year.” We wish FOBS all the best with this project, and with the drive, vision, and winning approach to fundraising and community involvement they have, we’re sure success will only be a matter of time!
With thanks to Georgina Mills of the Friends of Bramham School.
Inspired by the success of the Friends of Bramham School?
- Check out the Parentkind constitution, and see if registering for charity status is right for you and your PTA
- One of the keys to FOBS’ success was giving back to their biggest donors, ensuring that they had their pride of place at the Shelter opening. What can you do to thank your donors?