Drayton & Taverham

Drayton school Friends group saved at 11th hour

Just Regional
Jun 22, 2016 4 mins read

Friends of Drayton Community Infant School has been an important part of school life for the last 20 years, so when a letter went out on June 7 informing parents that the charity would be closing due to a lack of support, it was a real shock to the school community.

However, the thought of no more fireworks, Easter egg hunts, summer parties, discos and quiz nights was unthinkable, and prompted parents to come forward and fill the key roles.

Angie Crocker, who has been vice chair of the Friends for two years, said: “It really was at the point where if we didn’t get anyone else involved, there was no way forward.

“The response to the letter showed that when it came to the crunch, parents weren’t prepared to let the Friends close.”

Angie’s daughter Nyah leaves at the end of the school year and as a result she will be stepping away from her role within the Friends and is pleased its future is now secure. “I want other children to have what Nyah had, the fun and community spirit that the Friends brings to the school.”

Taking the role of chairperson is Maria Voors, who responded to the closure letter. The vice chair role will be split between two parents: Suzie Clare, who was already on the committee and has stepped up to the role, and Andy Bodycombe. Fran Baker will be treasurer, who along with Andy also responded to the letter.

“The Friends have done such sterling work and the thought of it closing was really sad,” said Maria, who is a part time physiotherapist and has a son, Noah, in Rabbit Class as well as an 18-month-old daughter, Nell.

“The current friends really want it to continue, they just couldn’t find anyone to take on the three roles that a charity has to have: a chairperson, a vice chair and a treasurer.

“The school is brilliant at delivering activities for the children, but it’s the Friends that deliver the fun stuff around it. There is no way the school could raise the sort of money that the Friends events do.

“They’ve funded things such as the refurbishment of the library and outdoor play equipment, and the current project is a new bike shed to provide extra room and encourage more children to cycle or scooter to school.

“What’s nice about the Friends is that they try to use the money raised in the same academic year, so parents know their children will benefit from them supporting the events.”

Maria and the new team take over in September and are looking forward to getting stuck in. Headteacher Claire Bates has asked if they can try and come up with some new ideas for fundraising activities and Maria is keen to hear from anyone in the community who might have ideas.

“We’re hoping to bring back the fireworks in November as it was missed last year, but we’d like to come up with a rolling programme so that we don’t have the same events every year, and it would be great to get the wider community involved,” said Maria.

The next Friends event is the Summer Garden Party on Friday, July, 8, 5-8pm. There will be a bouncy castle, ice cream, bar and tombola. Visitors can bring a picnic. Tickets cost £3.50 for adults, which includes a drink, children under 16 are free.

Maria and the Friends team can be contacted through the school office on office@draytoninfant.norfolk.sch.uk or call 01603 860272.

Drayton Community Infant School Friends vice chair Angie Crocker (left) and new chair Maria Voors; a new bike shed is the current big fundraising project.

Drayton Community Infant School Friends vice chair Angie Crocker (left) and new chair Maria Voors; a new bike shed is the current big fundraising project.

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