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Successful fundraisers for autumn

We love hearing your fundraising stories! PTAs have been in touch to let us know about their success stories for the autumn term, so prepare to be inspired!

Bonfire and fireworks display

'We were able to host a 20-minute fireworks display for over 1,000 people, put on by an excellent professional company. We promoted the event to the local community through posters in shops and cafes, listings online and in local magazines, and flyers through letterboxes. We sold tickets at a reduced price for advanced purchase 
(£4.50 adults, £3.50 children) and on the door (£6 adults, £4 children). Gates opened at 5pm with the fireworks display at 7pm. We had bouncy castles and sold flashing sticks, headbands and wands. We also ran a BBQ and bar and had a visit from the local fire brigade, who are always keen to bring the engine down for the children to see. Paramedics from St John's Ambulance also attended. Our Year 3 children took part in a school workshop making lanterns, so we began with a lantern parade. It was a fantastic evening thanks to the work of a small but dedicated committee! The BBQ and bar were run by parent volunteers taking half-hour shifts, and teachers staffed the gate and sold the glow items. Including the cost of the lantern workshop, fireworks, glowing items, burgers, (Quorn hot dogs for the veggies) popcorn and drinks, the event cost us about £3,500 to put on, but made a whopping £4,500 profit! We were sure to emphasise that no refunds could be offered in the event of cancellation due to bad weather, but luckily it couldn't have been a nicer night.' Jane Anderson, PTA Chair, Burhill Primary School, Surrey (375 pupils)

Autumn fete and farm

'We hold our fete in September to welcome our new pupils to our school. Last year we invited Ark Petting Farm, which usually costs £354, but we paid £300. This was our only outlay as a local business sponsored our bouncy castle. We decided that although it was quite a bit of money to pay out, we wanted to do something fun for the children. It was very simple to organise, and the team was very professional and made it very easy. They emailed us a copy of their public liability insurance, a copy of their 'animals in transit' document and told us what we needed to do, which was really just to advertise the event! On the day, a teacher supervised the entry gate. We offered a wristband deal - £1 per entry to the farm at a set time or £3 unlimited entry to the farm and bouncy castle (this was a winner!). This children and parents loved getting hands-on with the animals, and we had lots of positive feedback. And best of all, at the end of the visit the team cleaned up all the mess and you wouldn't even had known that they had been! In total, we took over £1,000 after costs. Not bad considering all stalls were 50p a go!' Syreeta Oakes, PTA Chair, Rowans Primary School, Hertfordshire (206 pupils)

NOTE: If external companies are bringing animals to your school, check that they have insurance which covers both the animals and any children handling them.

Curry and race night

'We decided to hold a race night last autumn, hosting the event in school so there was no venue cost involved. We hired the nine-race DVD from racenights.uk.com - it costs £99. They send you a box with tote tickets and forms - it's a very quick service. We charged £8 per person with concessions for buying more than one ticket etc. Included in the ticket price was a homemade curry cooked by a parent and grandmother using all fresh ingredients. They used the school kitchen to prepare it in the afternoon which was brilliant because all the parents who hadn't bought tickets could smell the gorgeous aroma. There were a few grumbling stomachs and grumbling parents leaving through the school gates, cursing themselves for not buying a ticket! We bought wine, beer and soft drinks and we hired glasses from Tesco. There were two helpers running the bar and we charged £6-7 for a bottle of wine, and £1.50 for a bottle of Bud or Cobra. We have over 300 families at the school so we hoped that more than 60 parents would come. However, it was a fantastic night and those who came had such a great time and recommended it to so many people that we've decided to hold the same night every autumn, especially since it made £800 profit for the PTA!' Nicola Daniell, Whitegrove Primary School Warfield, Berkshire (448 pupils)

Diwali party

'Our Diwali party was a great community event for all the family, offering an evening of food, dance, performances and prizes! Tickets were priced at £3 per child, £5 per adult or £13 for a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children). Everyone arrived in wonderfully-colourful Indian outfits, and the children loved dressing up for the occasion. The hall was decorated with beautiful saris draped
over the walls and equipment, colourful paper chains
and pictures of diyas that the children made. A special table was dressed and decorated to accommodate miniature statues of Hindu gods and diyas to light during the prayers at the beginning of the evening. After the prayers we had some fantastic dance performances by the children who attend out-of-school Indian dance clubs. Each performance varied in style of dance and music and was very impressive. As a thank you, the children were presented with a certificate and small gift for their efforts. We booked a DJ who played a good mix of music, from traditional Indian and Bhangra, to current pop music. There was a short break at 5pm when a delicious Indian feast was served (a local catering company provided the food). Dancing continued until 6.30pm, when we ended the evening by drawing the raffle. During the event, another member of staff collected tickets on the door, someone sold raffle tickets, and there were around 20 staff and volunteers serving the food.
 It was a great community event that was thoroughly enjoyed by all the children, staff and parents and raised around £300 for the school.' 
Roshnee Patel, event organiser, Friends of
 Vaughan School, Harrow (537 pupils)

Murder mystery evening

'We held this event in October with the help of a local drama group called The York Stars. They have 2-3 murder mystery plays which they have learnt and are able to perform for groups around York. We chose 'Who Killed the Headmaster' so that we could have it school themed. We asked the attendees to come dressed in school uniform (optional) and to bring food. Some bought their sandwiches and crisps in a lunch box. Others ordered a take away from the local curry house/chippy. This meant that we did not have to cater for a main meal, so could keep the costs down and reduced the number of volunteers needed. We just supplied hot drinks and cakes. The attendees booked tables (of 8) or were allowed to buy individual tickets and we put them in groups. The play was in 3 parts. Part 1 - up to the murder. Part 2 - the interview of suspects. Part 3 - the reveal of the murderer, their accomplice and why they did it. The breaks between the parts allowed us to eat and to discuss who we thought did it. Before Part 3 we had to submit our findings and at the end the closest team got a prize. There was also a prize for best male and female costumes. We charged £8 per ticket. This would have needed to be more if we had supplied the whole meal. We also had a small raffle. We split the profits from the evening with the York Stars, making both groups about £275 each. It was a good evening, very funny and a good way for the parents and teachers to get to know each other.' Naomi Whittaker, Scarcroft Primary School, York


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