£50,000 a day pledged to save Chetwynde
Last updated at 16:39, Sunday, 08 April 2012
DONATIONS have been flooding in at a rate of nearly £50,000 a day since the dramatic announcement that Furness’ only independent school faces closure.
The group hoping to save Chetwynde School has raised £100,000 in cash, and £300,000 in pledges so far.
But as the Chetwynde Support Group gets ever closer to reaching the estimated £500,000 needed to keep the school open, debate about the school’s future gathers pace.
Parents and pupils turned out in force yesterday to attend a drop-in day at the Rating Lane school which was aimed at giving people the chance to put forward their ideas, voice their feelings on the way forward and to view the business plan which aims to save the school.
There were six themes to the session: finance, education, the business plan, fundraising, communications and marketing.
Members of the group consulted with parents and people were given the chance to put forward their ideas and thoughts on sticky notes.
Simon Mardel, chairman of the support group, said the event was about interaction.
He said: “The idea today is about getting all the ideas that are out there, especially from people who work in different areas of expertise.
“We may not have often heard from them, they may not have been to management meetings but they have good ideas for the way forward and what the future is.
“We want to get people in all those different areas, who know their onions, to say have you thought of this? And then we can have an opportunity to look at them, think them through and work through them.
“We can consider whether they are viable or not and whether they should go into the business plan.”
Mr Mardel said creating a long term business plan was almost a bigger challenge than raising the money to save the school.
He said: “The sustainable aspect is the bigger challenge: how to draw in more pupils or use the resources we’ve got better.
“There is such skills and facilities in this peninsula that I think are grossly underestimated.”
Robert Swan, who was on the business strategy stand, praised the fundraising effort.
He said: “Obviously we need to turn pledges into cash now.
“It is wonderful and shows the commitment that pupils and parents have to the school.
“I would like to think that the spirit of this event comes across. I am sure we will get lots and lots of parents coming and hopefully they’ll be able to gain the impression that there is a team of people that is trying our very best to save the school.”
Among the scores of parents in attendance was Barrow celebrity cook Dave Myers.
And the Hairy Biker said the school had paid a key part in helping his stepdaughter integrate into life in Britain.
He said: “My stepdaughter was 11 when she came over and she couldn’t speak any English.
“I had enough money to send her to the school initially for two years. We hoped that the small classes would give her a great chance.”
Mr Myers said his stepdaughter, who is now 16, has excelled in her time at the school and although he went to a state school, it is important people have choice.
He said: “It is really important to the town that we have some choice. I know very well that the state system works well.
“But people should have choice. This is a very good school and I am lucky to be able to send my stepdaughter here.”
Support group member Paula Gunson said gaining feedback on the school’s education was crucially important.
She said: “I think this is a real opportunity not only to save what we’ve got, but to build on it.
“This is a large school which is important within the local area.
“It is about how we can bring things forward. For me the biggest thing is the work we have done with the teaching staff.
“We are all in this together, they are essentially fighting for their jobs, and we have been able to discuss what they can offer and what they would do differently.”
Victoria Barber-Bolam, who has helped organise meetings over the past week, praised parents for everything they have given.
She said: “The support we have had has been great, in regards funding and everything else.
“Not everybody can give financial pledges, as parents are from all sorts of backgrounds. But this is all about getting people together and offering what they can to save the school.”
For more information and to pledge to donate to the school, visit www.chetwyndesupportgroup.co.uk or email pledges@chetwyndesupportgroup
First published at 16:37, Sunday, 08 April 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
On reflection it is amazing how much of the western market economy is based not on need but on anxiety. The new improved deodorant because you probably stink; medication for the overly firm stool; spring water by the liter as the tap stuff probably contains carcinogens; a kaleidoscope of cosmetics because you may have a wrinkle; the fancy car with all round air bags.. that will definitely save your life; BUPA for that sudden lump or bump.. or heaven forfend... ME!; burglar alarms.. as you are clearly surrounded by potential robbers; organic vegetables - as they will most certainly prevent cancer; and the fancy car again... as having a slightly old one may cause the anxiety of unfavourable comparison with friends or neighbours. Oh and the big one... a nuclear deterrent in case some unknown nation try it on. Having spent all that money, just when you are almost at ease it turns out you may have to engage with the world and send the fruit of your loins into the rough and tumble of education. You once heard that a rude man spoke roughly to someone else's child in the street. The bounder. Naturally this must apply to whole town and the entire population of the state school system. Oh my the sleepless nights. Here's something to ponder. When you lay out all this cash and send them off to higher education they will in all likelihood be taught there by the products of the state school system. Seems a little absurd - unless you can pay for an exclusive education throughout. Well here's a bulletin - this government loves to disseminate the idea that state education is second rate. Preying on the anxieties of concerned parents they would love more and more people to opt out. Why? So they can realise their ideological aims and run down the state sector and dismantle hard won reforms that took a hundred years to achieve. Education first and then health. Well health may take a little longer to dismantle as the medics rather enjoy setting their own pay rates and accessing the huge trough provided by the National Health Service. Still - it is your money and a matter of choice.
I don't have a soapbox - just speaking common sense my dear C.Shore (do you sell C. Shells there, perchance???).
The myriad of parents claiming they are scrimping and scraping to fund their little treasure's education and have no money is totally at odds with the amount of funds which are being raised, that is the point I wass trying to make.
The second point I was making and yes, I will make it again is, I cannot think of any worthy causes from the hospice to macmillan nurses which are raking in donations of 50k a day, not even national organisations. Where, pray, are these huge funds coming from - not form the likes of me who is struggling to pay the mortgage and council tax.
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