Friends of Heathbrook (PTA) have helped to raise £130,000 for an all-weather astroturf that will benefit the whole community. Here’s how they did it.
Provision of high quality sports facility
In 2015, inspired by school staff including sports teacher, Mr Gibbs, the PTA decided to raise funds to help transform Heathbrook’s outdoor sports area into an all-weather facility. Roy Wilson, PTA chair, takes up the story: - “Heathbrook School is in the middle of a densely populated area which has over a hundred sports teams for adults and children within a close radius. We’re fortunate to have a large outdoor play area and wanted to realise its huge potential for the children and surrounding communities.”
Roy tells us that the school’s sports pitch, which has a two-metre slope that stretches from one end to the other and the tired old concrete surface, is far from ideal for the provision of children’s sport.
Alternative revenue streams
“Our research showed that an astroturf is a proven and consistent revenue earner as it can be accessed by the wider community, including being used as a training ground. Our aim was to raise £130,000 and we put together a detailed proposal showing the benefits it would bring to the children and the local communities.”
Sport England’s support
The PTA’s application to numerous local and national sports funds resulted in a generous donation from Sport England. Although the bulk of the £130,000 funding was secured, there was still a long way to go.
“The donation from Sport England really kick started our fundraising campaign,” says Roy. “With a substantial amount still to raise, we decided that we’d reach out to parents, local businesses and the surrounding communities and spread the word so that everyone was aware of what we wanted to achieve.”
Community engagement events
Over the next two years, the PTA became involved in a number of community engagement events, as Roy explains: “The school has a long tradition of sporting success and the highlight for me was our Festival of Sport. Our playground was packed throughout the day with everyone enjoying a huge range of sports: everything from athletics and hockey to wheelchair basketball and boomerang throwing. We’d publicised the event beforehand and invited local sports groups along and made sure that everyone – from parents to community members – was aware of our event.
“We were very lucky that Andrea Lynch, three-time British Olympic 100m athlete, was able to attend our event and support our younger children with their athletics skills. Through stalls, sports challenges and a fundraising page on Just Giving, we managed to raise around £8,000.”
Reaching out to wider groups
Roy says that the PTA also approached Wandsworth Council about its annual Art Festival so that the children could get involved: “Our teachers and parents were really supportive and many of the children were involved in constructing and displaying their artwork.
Some of the parents helped out when the PTA became involved with the local Farmers’ Market: “The children grew their own produce and sold it at the market. It really helped to raise the school’s profile, as some people were unaware of the school and our fundraising for the astroturf.”
Fundraising target achieved
Roy updates us on the project’s success: “I’m incredibly proud to say that parents, teachers, the local community – and of course the children – have all pulled together and we’ve achieved our fundraising goal. It’s exciting to see that work is underway.”
The provision of an astroturf pitch will transform the school’s ability to deliver high quality sports and make a massive impact on the lives of children growing up in a densely populated urban area.
Roy Wilson, chair, said: “The PTA helps the school to fund activities and events which the school community can enjoy, which is particularly important in the light of funding cuts from traditional sources. Most importantly is that through the PTA, teachers, parents and carers give freely of their time and knowledge to make the school a great place for the children.”