Parents join forces to support school

Ria Larkins and Matt Wadey have joined forces to raise money for Friends of Summerlea School (FOSS)
Ria Larkins and Matt Wadey have joined forces to raise money for Friends of Summerlea School (FOSS)

Yet another letter warning of cuts to school funding dropped on to the mat just as two parents were deciding which charity to support in the Brighton Marathon.

In a bid to help Summerlea Community Primary School in Rustington, Ria Larkins and Matt Wadey both separately decided to raise money for Friends of Summerlea School (FOSS).

Talk in the school playground alerted Ria to Matt’s plans, so now they will run together in a combined bid to raise around £2,000 for much-needed blackout curtains for the school hall and outdoor furniture for the KS2 playground.

Ria said: “To continue making technical advances, medical breakthroughs and support modern day living, we need our future generations to be well educated.

“Unfortunately, within the last fortnight, parents of about half a million pupils in England were sent another letter warning of cuts to schools because of funding shortages.

“Alongside campaigns to secure fairer funding and interim financial models, our schools need financial support now to help continue, to provide quality education within suitable environments.

“As well as having parent committees within schools, which often help to raise funds through school events, another great way to help fundraise for your local community school is by using your participation in external event such as marathons, obstacle runs, hill climbs, abseils, etc.

“With this in mind, Matt and I coincidentally discovered we had both secured individual places in the Brighton Marathon and both wanted to raise funds for FOSS, which is a registered charity to assist in fundraising for the school.”

Ria has always enjoyed running but decided it was time for a challenge and managed to secure a non-charity running place in the Brighton Marathon.

“Knowing it would be even nicer to run the marathon and raise funds for a charity, it then got me thinking about which charity to support,” she said.

“There are the obvious big players that do wonderful things but I wanted to support a smaller charity that has more meaning to me and my family.

“Hence, I thought it would be really nice to raise funds for Summerlea Community Primary School, which one of my children now attends.

“Furthermore, following the recent news and campaign Worth Less?, I now understand that our primary school, due to being located in West Sussex, is significantly underfunded in comparison to other counties.

“Head teachers and governing bodies are doing all they can to assist in making the funding they receive comparably much fairer and trying to achieve £20 million, an extra £200 per school-aged child, of transitional funding, for all West Sussex schools.

“While this campaign is continuing, I hope that we may be able to raise extra to help support the current deficit in funding that along with other West Sussex schools, our school is experiencing.”

Matt started running as a bid to lose weight, having weighed 17.5 stone for a number of years.

“I started out with a simple 20-minute walk to novice running using the couch to 5k. My weight came down by 5.5 stone, size XL to a medium, and then I could run further,” he said.

“Next, a new challenge was suggested – to run the Brighton Marathon. I wanted to help in raising much-needed funds for the school, where my daughter is in year one. As with Ria, I was also entered as a non-charity place.

“So, we have decided to join forces and run it together. Any donations are much appreciated and will make a huge amount of difference to all the children at Summerlea.”

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