Always a hot topic when it comes to outdoor learning is funding!
My project started with an initial £5000 from the school funds to get the ball rolling. In my naivety I thought it would be more than enough and the project would be up and running and everything I had ever hoped for, this wasn’t the case. That money brought 3 goats, fencing and the bus! Nowhere near enough to get the project finished so I had to look to other funding streams and here is what I found out.
Note: All these things are in my experience, yours might be different!
We contact the whole spectrum of companies and groups, from the local corner store to Tesco. We found that the big multinational companies are in a better place to help than local companies but it does take a lot of persistence and chasing after the right person.
We linked up with our local Tesco and found out that they have a member of staff who’s roll it is too look after the local community. We invited her over to see the project and to explain what we hoped to achieve, she was immediately onboard and returned the following day with tools, seeds, hose and a whole box full of goodies. She also put us in touch with their ‘Tesco bags of help’ department which is a great idea. All the 5ps they receive for the carrier bags go into a big pot and then every month 3 projects are choosen in each district. Shoppers then vote which project they would like to receive the top amount of £5000 then £2000 and finally £1000. We have been lucky enough to secure £2000 from this project to put towards expanding and improving our farm.
Cemex is a cement company which has work days put aside for local projects. We were contacted by them following local press coverage to see if we would like one of their work days. We had 7 members of their staff turn up and a lorry load of cement to build the slab for our stable and a path across our paddock, all for free.
Essex and Suffolk Water
Much like Cemex they have a set amount of days set aside to help the local community, We were lucky enough that one of our dads works for them and arranged the whole project. We had to buy the materials but 8 members of their staff spent the day building raised beds and ripping the floor out of our bus.
Now for some not so successful stories!
B and Q
Each store has a bin set aside for items that are damaged and they cannot sell, we the premise that it is then given away to local projects. We spent hours talking to our local store, to just about every member of staff but none were able to help us and tell us what we needed to do to take part in their initiate.
I have been super lucky that I have had two head teachers who have supported the project fully and have been in the lucky position that they were able to put some of the school funds into the project. With the change in funding happening very soon I fear that projects such as my school farm will be put on hold, lets hope this isn’t the case.