While many Crawley residents were readying themselves for the Tilgate Race for Life, which took place on Saturday (23 June), one school was already running.
I was welcomed into St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School with smiles; I could tell straight away I was in a real tight-knit, friendly school.
There was a buzz of excitement in the air – and it wasn’t coming from the bees that were out on such a beautiful sunny day – as the school was just about ready to begin its own Race for Life.
The Crawley Town FC mascot, Reggie the Red, attended the event too. and this only added to the excitement.
Students were showing off their dance moves and exchanging high-fives with Reggie, who even joined in on the run!
Emma Piggott, Secretary for the Parents & Friends Association (PFA) at St. Francis said:
“The PFA are providing tea, coffee and cakes as well as volunteers for the water station and martialling. All profits made today go to Cancer Research UK.
“The initial target was £1,000 but we’ve gone straight through that so we’re hoping to get to £2,000.
“The students cannot wait, I’ve got two children here and they’re so excited. They’re dressing up today, dying their hair and there’s just this real excitement.
“It’s the second year we’ve run it and this year it looks a lot bigger. The organisation is brilliant, it looks great out there today and the kids all look great because they’ve dressed up this year and it’s nice to see all the parents coming and supporting it.
“It’s a real community feel and it gets everyone in school to see what’s going on and raising money.”
Kellyann McGovern, mother of year 1 student, Macaragh was on hand to help out:
“My son is here doing one of the races and he is so excited about it.
“Every child got a sponsor form and also we did an online sponsorship. Last time I checked we smashed our £1,000 target.
Kellyann is part of the PFA committee and helps out at a lot of the school events. This time, she was helping on the water station.
“The PFA committee ourselves do a lot of behind-the-scenes work, as in getting things set up but the school, and the teachers, have done the most fantastic job on getting obviously the race set up itself and everything laid out. They’ve done a brilliant job.
“A lot of work goes into it, but it’s well worth it for a good cause. I think dressing in pink was one of the most exciting things for them today! We’ve got some lovely outfits as you can see – including myself, I’ve got into the spirit of it too as you can see.”
Tim Hallett, Headteacher at St Francis of Assisi Catholic Primary School, said:
“In summary this is just typical of our school community, how we come together, throughout the school year and support so many important causes.
“Today is just one example of that – supporting Cancer Research, a very important charity – and the children are clearly enjoying themselves. It’s a wonderful afternoon, the parents have come in full support and we’re having a fabulous afternoon.”
Students ran different distances depending on their year group – with many running a fantastic 3km!
Year 4 teacher, Olly Lambert, put a huge amount of effort into preparing for the day and continued to do so throughout the event.
“The children and parents who took part were superb and the day was a massive success, the staff and everyone involved made it so easy to run. It was fantastic seeing everyone take part for a great cause and the whole community come together.
“We have currently raised £1600 for cancer research and donations are still coming in so hoping to break the £2000 mark! Personally like to thank the PFA and all the staff who helped to make the event run smoothly.”
There’s still time to donate to the cause, just click here to go to the school’s fundraising page.
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‘Springboard are not closing because we were increasing the rent’ says Leader of Crawley Council
Reports that the charity will have to close their Langley Green site because of rent increase are just not true says Councillor Peter Lamb.
In response to the claims that the charity Springboard would have to close their Langley Green site due to a rent increase by Crawley Borough Council, Leader the Council Peter Lamb has written publicly to address the issue.
Posting on his own blog he says:
“I’m aware that a number of mistruths are being circulated around about this, so in the interests of fairness I thought you might like a true account of events.
When Springboard opened they decided to take on a commercial property at a commercial rent.
“I agreed to look at freezing the rent and guaranteeing the council’s grant funding for a number of years”
At this time all the risks were highlighted to them, but they decided to take on the property nonetheless and various public sector organisations provided grant funding to help set the property up and pay for some of the running costs.
Last year I met with the new chief executive of the charity who flagged up that they were in financial difficulties, that he understood the circumstances under which the charity had taken on the property but they were struggling.
At the time I agreed to look at freezing the rent and guaranteeing the council’s grant funding for a number of years and I was given to understand that that might be enough to ensure the charity’s presence in the town. I looked into it and reported back that we could commit to such an arrangement.
“It is very sad that the charity is closing but it is not though any unreasonable behaviour on the council’s part“
When I met with the chief executive again in February I was informed that the charity’s financial position had worsened and that freezing the rent and guaranteeing the grant would not be enough for the charity to be able to maintain its presence in Crawley.
I said that we weren’t in a position to commit to the tens of thousands of pounds in additional funding which were requested, but that we’d be willing to form part of a solution alongside WSCC and the CCG who have legal responsibility for the groups Springboard works with.
For some reason this was not seen to be seen as an acceptable solution and I did not hear anything further until I was informed Springboard were closing.
Springboard are not closing because we were increasing the rent (despite their signing up to that contract), nor because of any cuts to their grant funding by CBC but because their financial position worsened due to the loss of a major donor and Crawley Borough Council were not in a place to make up the gap without the support of the two organisations legally responsible for Springboard’s client group.
It is very sad that the charity is closing but it is not though any unreasonable behaviour on the council’s part, particularly when you consider we were the only organisation which expressed a willingness to help despite having no formal remit to do with Springboard’s work.”