How to get free stuff for schools

Image by Howard Lake; Flickr.

Most state schools in the UK need extra funding to pay for supplies and activities that benefit pupils. However, raising taxes to boost education funding has proved politically unpopular in the UK. Fortunately, there are several ways to secure funding and free items for schools. The key to accessing this help is to approach the right people and organisations.

Ask the parents. Many parents work from home and can be an essential source of free items from old computers and printers to stationery supplies and reference books. Others might be prepared to bake cakes or donate raffle prizes for fundraising school fetes and sales. To get free items for school from parents, you will need to send information home with pupils informing parents of the need.

Enrol your school into existing programmes that donate free supplies to schools. Many major supermarket chains -- including Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrison's -- run loyalty schemes that allow shoppers to collect vouchers that they can donate to schools. Typically, the schools can then exchange these vouchers for specific educational supplies. For example, 60 per cent of all primary schools in the UK, and 40 per cent of all secondary schools, are registered to take part in the "Let’s Grow" scheme run by Morrison's, which provides seeds and gardening equipment to schools so pupils can plant and run their own garden plots.

Ask local businesses for contributions. Many businesses, both small and large, set aside money every year to give to community causes. To receive this money, you need to ask and may have to follow certain company procedures, but you will be surprised at what businesses will contribute.

Look to local universities or colleges. Many higher and further education institutes continuously update their equipment and classrooms. Instead of throwing old items away, they can be persuaded to give these to local schools.

Seek out community service or professional groups. These groups may have money set aside to provide grants or practical support, from books to IT equipment, to support local schools.

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