Sustainable event ideas
Holding a sustainable fundraising event will
not only be new and exciting, it will also raise awareness of
eco-issues, get pupils thinking about the world around them and can
even tie in with the curriculum.
Sponsored litter pick
Sponsored events are a great way to get pupils
active. A sponsored litter pick will get children out walking in
the fresh air and help them learn about social responsibility and
the harmful effects of litter on habitats and eco-systems.
A litter pick is sure to be popular with sponsors, as
pupils will be helping to tidy up the local area. Pickers can be
sponsored either for how much time they spend picking or the
quantity they collect.
On the day, brief litter-pickers on safety and
responsibility and send them out with hi-vis jackets, gloves, bags
and litter-pick sticks, if you have them (your local council may be
able to help with equipment).
Be sure to have hand-washing facilities and
refreshments waiting on their return. Afterwards, promote how much
rubbish has been picked in total and how much has been raised. You
might want to go the extra mile by separating landfill and
Encourage little green fingers by running a harvest
festival. In the run-up to the event, give children sunflower seeds
for a growing competition and ask people to prepare homegrown
fruit, veg or flowers to bring in. On the day, ask the headteacher
or a prominent local person to judge the competitions. Try to use
broad categories, such as 'longest vegetable', 'sweetest fruit' or
'pinkest flower' to encourage as many people to enter as
Invite attendees to bring homemade dishes or request
donations of homegrown and locally grown ingredients and make food
to sell. If you have a school garden, use produce from there
Run a farmers' market alongside your festival and
sell stall spaces to families and local people, who can then sell
their own produce and homemade items. You may also want to have
external stallholders - investigate your town market for ideas. A
farmers' market can be run at any time of the year.
Second-hand sales are a great opportunity to re-home
pre-loved items while giving visitors a unique shopping experience.
Regular second-hand sales will encourage people to stop buying
everything new and prevent old items from going to landfill. Your
school is the perfect location for a second-hand clothing sale as
children often grow out of clothes when they still have plenty of
wear left in them. To make more of your sale, open it up to local
people or run the event with another local school. Hold it in a
large space such as your school or village hall. Take advantage of
the seasons by collecting fancy dress clothes before World Book Day
and festive jumpers in the run-up to Christmas.
Virtual balloon race
Balloon races are a popular fundraiser for PTAs, but
not for the environment. Balloons can scatter miles apart and
litter a wide area of land, causing damage to animals and wildlife.
Even 'biodegradable' balloons take years to decompose, meaning one
spectacular moment has a huge impact. Instead, consider setting up
a virtual balloon race with ecoracing.co as a fun alternative. The website
uses real weather data and geographical positions to simulate what
flight path your virtual balloon takes. Balloon sponsors can even
decorate and alter their balloon as many times as they like prior
'We harvest and sell our school honey!'
'In 2009, beekeeper and school mum Sandra was
looking for somewhere to move her beehives. Our headteacher at the
time was incredibly supportive because she knew how fundamental
bees are to our children's future. We've had two more headteachers
since then, who were both incredibly supportive of this project,
and we now have five happy, healthy hives at school.
The school apiary is located at the end of the
field, where the children can see the 'Burhill Bees'. Last year,
one of our beekeepers met with each of the reception classes to
share her knowledge of bees, including their hives, life-cycle and
importance to the environment. Wearing bee suits, small groups were
then able to look into a hive and handle frames. This year we will
do the same with Year 2 pupils.
We have two volunteer beekeepers who look after the
hives and the apiary all year round, and we also have a wider team
of excellent and enthusiastic volunteers who plant and maintain
bee-friendly plants. Happy, healthy bees make the best honey!
Last year we extracted around 137lbs, which will
make around 60lbs of saleable honey. We sell 8oz jars for £4 and
12oz jars for £6, and all money made goes back to the bees through
purchasing bee suits, gardening tools and specialist equipment. We
sell the honey through our school office and at a local
delicatessen. Burhill pupils help design special labels for our
honey, making it even more individual to us.'
Charlotte O'Farrell, Friends of Burhill
Primary School member, Hersham, Surrey (616 pupils)
'Our farmers' market raised £680'
'To celebrate the abundance of locally grown food
and lovely crafts in our area, we decided to hold a farmers' market
in the community centre in Morwenstow. The centre offers free
parking and also has a play park. We charged £10 per stall and
admission was free. The market attracted a large selection of food
stalls selling items such as eggs, jams, vegetables, honey and
sausages. We also had craftspeople and artists selling knitted
products, paintings and macrame, to name but a few..
We did most of the setting up the day before and
needed nine volunteers to help on the day. Some of the booked
stallholders weren't able to attend at the last minute, but others,
who hadn't booked, arrived asking for space and we managed to fit
everyone in. We were open for four hours, and everyone pitched in
at the end to help clear up.
Alongside the stalls, the PTA ran games,
face-painting, a tombola and a raffle. We also sold homemade cakes
and scones. We raised £680 after costs.'
Steve Brookes, PTA Chair, St Mark's CofE
Primary School, Bude, Cornwall (95 pupils)
A pupil eco-council is an excellent way for children
to inspire the whole school to go green. Invite pupils to sign up
and ask teachers if they can pinpoint any budding
environmentalists. Members of the council can suggest green ideas
and initiatives, help run eco-events and encourage their friends
and parents to join in.
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