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Eco-friendly fundraisers

Eco-friendly fundraisers are fast becoming popular with PTAs - not only are they a brilliant way to raise money, but they also raise awareness with families about ways they can help the environment.

Ink-cartridge recycling

Paul Barnfather, PTA Chair, Beaudesert Lower School, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire (242 pupils): 'The Empties Please scheme involves donating used ink cartridges in exchange for money for the school. The process is incredibly easy - from registration to returning the boxes of cartridges, then receiving payments. Our collection box is placed in the school foyer, and in the past it has been overflowing with donations!

We send out flyers biannually in book bags to remind parents that we are collecting, and that these donations can really help the school's finances! Once the box is full, we download the online returns label and package the cartridges up to send away via a click- and-collect parcel service.

We receive 75p for an original ink cartridge, and 25p for a remanufactured one. 'Green points' are also awarded for every £1 raised, and these can be saved up to redeem against eco-goodies. We have raised just short of £600, and our latest collection alone raised £242! In 2014, we ordered a giant butterfly tower with our 'green points', and we used our last cheque to help fund a Christmas panto trip for the whole school.'

Plant sale

Joanne McKee, PTA Chair, Abbey Primary School, Newtownards,
County Down (610 pupils): 'Our school's Eco Club has been running for about 10 years,
and children from primary 5 to primary 7 meet after school to take part in different activities. The Eco Club have also supported the PTA by running stalls at events - one of these being a plant stall at our family fun day.

The plants and flowers were all grown by the children who attend the club. They sent letters home encouraging families to donate pots, containers and plants, and asked local garden centres for donations. One parent also constructed a small polytunnel, where the plants were nurtured before being transferred into pots just before the event. On the day, the children set up a table in a bright spot in front of the school. They charged between £5 and £10 per pot, with individual plants priced separately. The stall was a great success - the children raised £250, and the whole family fun day made over £4,000!'

Secondhand uniform

Claire Adam, PTA Secretary, St Albans Girls' School, Hertfordshire (1,199 pupils): 'Our secondhand uniform sales are great fundraisers and provide many families with an affordable alternative to buying full-price uniform. We have a sale at least once a term on a Saturday morning in the school.

With three helpers we can set up the stalls from around 9am and be packed up by midday. The sale itself runs from 10am to 11.30am, and we can expect between 20 and 50 families to turn up. A standard sale raises between £200 and £500, and our best sale is held during the Open Evening for the new Year 7 students a couple of months before they start - from this we can take up to £1,000!

We are lucky that parents donate good quality, clean, but outgrown uniform. We do sometimes take out items that are tatty or do not meet school regulations though. There are no costs, parents are appreciative, and we raise the profile of the PTA!'

Greenhouse project

Jamie Jardine, PTA Chair, Tilbury Pioneer Academy, Tilbury, Essex (286 pupils): 'We decided that we'd like to build a greenhouse from recycled bottles. We would need approximately 1,500 empty 2-litre drinks bottles, as well as some timber for the frame and posts, and garden canes and staples to attach the canes to the frame.

We put an appeal out for people to start collecting plastic bottles, and spread the word in the local press. A local building company, Willmott Dixon, offered to supply the timber for the structure, to cement the posts into the ground and help build the frame. A community day was organised for volunteers to clean, cut and fix the bottles to the frames.

In September, we held a grand opening. Representatives from Willmott Dixon were invited, as well as our recently-retired site manager and volunteers from the community who had helped with the build. Headteacher, Dan George said, "Without the tireless support of the families in our community and the PTA, this project would not have been realised. To see it officially opened is a very proud moment for us all!"'


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