Katie Rimell, Chair of FoS
In our latest isolation blog, Katie Rimell, Chair of FoS (Friends of SGGS) discusses how recent events have impacted fundraising and what initiatives to expect in the near future.
The autumn term got off to an incredibly busy start with our Bangers Buns and Banter event for our new Year 7 families, as well as organising the Craft & Gift Fair, supporting the school production with refreshments and a raffle for 3 fantastic hampers. We also held a raffle for the beautiful handmade advent calendar made by one of our Year 10 parents, which was extremely popular. Several outside bookings were also supported by FoS, who provide a bar service when needed. Each activity raises valuable funds which directly benefit our students. Add to that, the amazing Matched Funding from two of our volunteer’s employers, along with an unexpected donation from Ecclesiastical Movement for Good, and we were able to donate an incredible £10,000 to school at the end of term!
Fundraising during COVID-19
Coronavirus has of course had a huge impact on our capabilities and therefore our fundraising opportunities. We jumped back into the spring term with vigour and got straight into organising one of our triannual Year 7 & 8 discos. The discos are one of our most popular events with the students, and we need lots of volunteers to make sure it’s a brilliant night for them – and it always is! As usual, ticket sales were high and the team were poised for action, and then news started to trickle through about a virus…
The team talked regularly and we impatiently watched the news updates. We began to realise that we could not go ahead with the event, but we also knew how disappointed the students would be. It was a small relief that the decision to cancel was taken out of our hands by the Government, as the school site was closed and everyone was sent home. COVID-19 had arrived, and sadly, it is yet to leave. As a result, we have lost the fundraising opportunities from two discos, three outside bookings, a pamper evening and a quiz night among other things. We were also planning an online auction, but this is now of course on hold as we don’t feel it’s appropriate to ask our local business supporters to donate Lots, as many of them are in difficult situations themselves as a result of the pandemic.
As a parent, I was hugely impressed at the speed in which the virtual school was set up, and I am equally thankful that the FoS team have been quick to react to the lockdown and isolation restrictions. We continue to work quietly in the background, strategising the return to school and how we can try to recoup some of the losses we will have made as a result of not being able to operate in a physical sense. The team have a wide and varied skillset and we are all able to add something to the mix; whether it’s time, expertise, or both! Thanks to the efforts from everyone, we have some fantastic plans for the year, and even into the next school year – yes, some things really do need to be planned 12 months in advance!
So, what can FoS do during the lockdown?
Many of you will know that we hope for support from parents/carers and students (and their friends!) through EasyFundraising and Amazon Smile. If you have not signed up, do please consider it; it makes an enormous difference – particularly now, when so many of us are shopping more online than ever before. Just search for Friends of Shottery or Stratford Girls’ Grammar School.
We are also working with school to find the best way to safely re-open our pre-loved uniform shop, New2You, as well as take in donations to restock. This is the first time we have all 5 year groups in the same uniform, so it’s going to be a busy time.
FoS is an intrinsic part of the school community. We offer a vital service which is entirely aimed at benefitting our students by way of additional funding to pay for things that the school budget just isn’t able to do. It helps to ensure that each student has the very best experience during their time at SGGS, and we couldn’t do it without the support we enjoy from local businesses, parents, carers, the students themselves, staff and suppliers. The pandemic has forced us to cease for the moment, but I can assure you we are ready to hit the ground running as soon as we are given the green light. With that in mind, I would love to hear from parents/carers who want to get involved or share some ideas or advice.
In the meantime, I am still working at my day job, and enjoying the time I have at home with my family in the evenings and weekends. On behalf of everyone on the FoS team, I hope you are all well, and I look forward to seeing you all soon.
If you’d like to join the FoS mailing list for Minutes of meetings, activity updates, details of events, or even better – if you’d like to be part of the team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or join our closed Facebook Group – Friends of Shottery