COMMUNITY groups, charities and schools across East Preston and further afield have been reaping the rewards of all the cash raised at the village’s annual festival with a total of £8,650 being dished out on Thursday (October 23).
The weather may have been glum but that didn’t prevent members of the East Preston Festival Committee from brightening the day of 39 different organisations.
Some of the cash awards ranged from £100 to £300, with two £1,000 grants being given to East Preston’s infant and junior schools – the biggest donations presented by the festival committee.
All the money was raised during East Preston Festival in June.
Ian Gordon, chairman of the festival committee, said: “We want to make a mark in the village and make people realise where the money from the festival goes. Hopefully, by doing this, we will be able to encourage more people each year to support the festival.”
Mr Gordon felt there were so many different charities, groups, sports clubs and organisations that deserved a boast. However, he explained there was a good reason in choosing the infant and junior school to receive the biggest windfalls.
“The children are our future so we feel that we’re investing in the future of East Preston by doing something like this for the kids. We hope this will be a lasting benefit for the schools in the village.”
The two schools, in Lashmar Road, have already earmarked the money for good use. The junior school will be putting it towards improving literacy among pupils by investing in more books, with a particular boost planned in the school’s non-fiction selection.
The neighbouring infant school also has big plans for the cash.
They will be using it to fund their forest school initiative.
The scheme will see children learning and working outside for an entire day, building up different skills during these special classes.
Deputy head teacher Lucy Owens said: “We’re thrilled with the donation because it will mean we can get to work straight away.
“The money will help to finish our a camp fire area where the children will be able to cook while learning to keep themselves safe at the same time.”
The money would also pay for new gardening tools and other equipment, such as flints for the fire, gloves, bow saws and safety equipment.
Mrs Owens explained that outdoor learning was something that could have more benefits for the pupils, particularly with their social development. She said: “For some children it will be their opportunity to shine because they might find certain subjects and lessons difficult and might not necessarily excel in the classroom as much as other children.
“So this is a fantastic way to boost their self-confidence, imagination, outdoor skills and enthusiasm for learning.
“We’re very passionate about the environment and as an eco-school, we’re passionate about using our outside environment to enrich the children’s learning. We’re just so, so grateful to East Preston Festival Committee for giving us this donation.
“With their support, our school will really be able to move forward in an exciting direction.
“To have that support from the community is just immense.”