Five-Minute Marvels: A £39,000 ticket to the Library Bus

Fundraising Supporting Learning Community Engagement England
06 September 2019

It’s all aboard Baston’s new Library Bus! After their incredible fundraising efforts, we caught up with the Baston School PTA to learn how the project came about.

Who are they?

Baston C of E Primary is a small, one form entry village school, which had grown to the point of bursting at the seams. The building was originally designed for almost half the number of children on the register, so facilities like the library are far too small. We spoke to Lucy Hartley, a committee member of the Barton School PTA, who explained how the school realised the ideal solution: a moveable space in the form of a library bus!

What did they do?

In October 2018, our PTA Chair, Emma, approached Stagecoach East Midlands who very kindly offered to supply the school with a double decker bus, which had been taken out of service. Not only were we giving the bus a new lease of life, but it was going to be put to great use, as we had exciting plans to renovate it into a large and exciting library, as well as using it for other activities such as a book club and SATS revision hub.”

How did they do it?

The PTA’s first task was to arrange for the transportation and storage of the bus. We were really fortunate that a local transport company offered to pay for the transportation of the bus to Baston, and that a friend of our committee members was able to store the bus at her farm whilst it underwent its transformation.”

Once the bus was in situ, it was all hands on deck. With the engine and fuel tank safely stripped away, the PTA team, along with other parents and volunteers, removed the existing seating and stripped the vinyl from the floor — which Lucy says was a laborious process! The next step for the team involved reaching out for support from the wider community. 

With a host of local tradesmen ready and willing to help with the re-fit process, the PTA team began applying for several grants almost immediately — everything from council grants and business community funds – to secure the funding required for the bus renovations. Things started to happen really quickly,” recalls Lucy. Before we knew it, we had received a £6,000 donation from village charity, Baston Events; generous donations from other local businesses and organisations including Baston Parish Council and South Kesteven District Council; £4,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme; and, thanks to previous fundraising efforts, the PTA was able to allocate £9,000 towards the renovations. The support from the school community was absolutely fantastic too: a sponsored read in school raised another £2,000.”

Lucy says they were also fortunate to be able to tap into the skills of parents who were really behind the project: One of our parents drew up plans, so we could visualise what the bus would look like inside and out. This really helped us to convey to people what we were trying to achieve – and I think everyone was really impressed! We had decorators, carpenters, electricians, furniture upholsterers and a host of other people on site, all of whom helped us to realise the vehicle’s transformation. We really can’t thank them enough.”

It’s amazing what you can achieve with the support of the whole school community. To think that in less than 12 months we managed to raise almost £40k to fund our fantastic library bus is incredible!”

How did it go?

In less than 12 months since the idea was discussed, the bus transformation was complete, and it was transported to its permanent home in the school grounds. The PTA’s village book amnesty has got things off to a good start, with almost 1000 books already in the bus.

There’s a fantastic buzz in school and in the community too. For the children, they’re so excited about going to their library to read books – and it really has been wonderful to see the vehicle’s transformation into a creative space crammed with reading material for everyone to enjoy.”

With thanks to Lucy Hartley of the Barton School PTA

Want to make your own marvel? Fundraising to make big changes for your school community?

  • Get out into the community! Barton School PTA worked hard seeking supportive local businesses and grant opportunities, and you can do the same
  • Use social media to your advantage – it really helps to spread awareness, and get people involved
  • Everyone in your PTA and school community will have skills and knowledge that they may be able to contribute to your projects – get to know them, and don’t be afraid to ask for their support