Five-Minute Marvels: Community Spirit at Hook Schools Community Association

Fundraising Community Engagement
24 March 2021
Feeling the strain from the cancellation of events like their annual beer and gin festivals, fireworks shows, and more, HSCA stayed spirited to keep the Association going.

Who are they?

Hook Schools Community Association (HSCA) serves as the PTA for Hook Schools in Hampshire. With around 800 infant and junior students to support, the team knew that they had to pivot quickly to continue their fundraising efforts at a time where their usual activities were redundant. The members of HSCA have a wide range of skills between them and had great fun brainstorming outside-the-box fundraising ideas. We spoke with one of the parents on their committee, James Rushmere, to hear their story.

Our Vice Chair, Scott, first got in touch with the Parentkind Membership Support Team to talk about some of the admin tasks we needed to do – making sure our constitution was up to date, providing the correct key contact and the structure of the committee. Shula was incredibly knowledgeable on all things related to this change — from the constitution design itself, the order of the meetings/​votes we would need to take and the other considerations we would need to be mindful of when making such a change. But we also got chatting about what our Community Association had been doing during lockdown…”

Shula was super useful in helping us to understand the other support we could get from Parentkind, a lot of which we had no idea was included as part of our annual membership.”

What did they do?

They came up with the innovative idea to team up with a local gin distillery to produce and sell their own gin, the perfect fundraiser during a stay at home’ order. James explains, Many of our events were cancelled due to the global pandemic, so parents were discussing other ways to fundraise. As a result of this, we came up with the idea to partner with a local gin distillery, Gorilla Spirits, and launch our own gin”.

Gorilla Spirits are a local distillery based in Upton Grey, near Hook, who the Community Association had previously collaborated with at their annual gin festival. James goes on to say, Gorilla Spirits are keen to work with the local community and have already supplied hand sanitiser to GP surgeries as well as helping food banks with their deliveries. After a chat with them about what we wanted to achieve, Hook Gin was born. We contacted the local parish council for permission to use an archive photo on the design of the gin bottle which really enhanced the local selling point. The gin also has a lovely delicate undertone of rose petals, which signify the Hampshire emblem of the red rose.”

How did it go?

The idea was really well supported by both the school and community. We actively shared posts on Facebook by the distillery, as well as saying thank you to the local pubs who were stocking it. It was a lovely way to get the wider community involved with HSCA, and raise awareness of what we’re about.” When the gin first launched they sold over 250 bottles within the first month, £5 of each bottle goes to HSPA. 

James explains that, When restrictions are lifted and it is safe to do so, we will continue with key fundraising events, but Hook Gin will remain a steady stream of income for the Community Association.” HSCA have done an incredible job adapting to new and exciting fundraising methods, and we hope you’re as ginspired by their efforts as we are. 

With thanks to James Rushmere of Hook Schools Community Association.