With education budgets under increasing pressure, many school business managers are looking for external funding to help with their new school playground projects. As one of the UK’s leading school playground equipment suppliers and installation companies, ESP Play has helped countless schools find financial assistance over the years and here, we have put together some of the funds that might be appropriate for your project.
National Lottery Community Fund
If your new playground provides opportunities that promote education, health or the environment, and which benefit your local community, then you might be eligible for an award of up to £10,000 from the National Lottery’s Community Fund.
Garfield Weston Foundation
The Garfield Weston Foundation is a UK fund that offers grants to charities and other good causes that support, among other things, youth, health and education. If your playground project can improve the life chances of young people through better education and health or by inspiring your pupils to reach their potential, you may be eligible to apply.
Ernest Cook Trust
The Ernest Cook Trust was set up by philanthropist grandson of the travel agent, Thomas Cook, to create experiences that help children and young people, especially those who are disadvantaged, to feel captivated and intrigued by nature and to instil a lifelong appreciation and respect for the countryside. This grant may be suitable for school playground projects that seek to create a nature zone or a forest school, especially in urban areas where children have limited access to natural environments or where disadvantage prevents them from visiting the countryside. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.
Biffa Waste Services runs the Biffa Award scheme to fund community projects located near landfill sites. Though schools might be eligible to apply for new play equipment and landscaping works for their playgrounds, the project will usually need to benefit the wider community and show evidence of their involvement and consultation.
The Football Foundation
Funded by The Football Association, the Premier League and the UK Government, the Football Foundation provides grants of up to £1 million to revitalise the sport at the grassroots level. This scheme is ideal for schools developing all-weather football pitches and who seek to encourage more young people to take part in football and to give them better opportunities to develop their skills. With the aim of providing ‘better games for more players,’ those who wish to make their pitches available for the wider community may have a better chance of success.
Co-op Local Community Fund
Funded by the Co-op Group, the Local Community Fund awards grants to three projects in each community every 12 months. The project must be for and be of benefit to the local community. The two eligibility criteria that apply to schools are for playground projects that help improve people’s mental wellbeing or those which offer young people the opportunity to develop new skills and make a difference in their community. Projects must comply with the Co-op’s values.
Other ways to raise funds
Many schools also raise a great deal of their funding through in-house initiatives, often with the assistance of the parent-teacher association (PTA). Over the many years ESP Play has been providing services to schools, we have seen a wide range of fundraising ideas put into action. The most successful are usually those that have the support of the most people as these drive wider participation and raise more money as a result.
Some of the most popular fundraising activities have been sponsored events, pupil discos, quiz evenings, talent shows, Easter egg and treasure hunts, summer fêtes, Christmas fairs, raffles, bric-a-brac sales, bun and cake sales, non-uniform days, car washing, splash the teacher events and auctions – especially when local businesses are willing to donate the items. Additionally, you may also find that some local businesses will be willing to offer small financial donations, especially if rewarded with a little bit of publicity.
Need help with your playground funding?
Our years of experience mean our team understand the funding process that schools need to go through to finance their new playgrounds. We can help you find more potential sources of funding and give you advice about writing bids for grants. We will even provide you with a free funding guide and a playground design and quotation based on your project to help support your bid.
For more information about finding, please visit our Funding page.