LetsLocalise #RaisingAMillion campaign is being launched by Reebok Founder, Joe Foster to help state schools in Birmingham, and nationwide, meet increasingly basic needs – from school meals, pencils and books to sports equipment and hand sanitiser – after budgets drop to 2010 levels in real terms and calls for help escalate.
Joe Foster, Chairperson of LetsLocalise, a digital and social innovation platform for state schools, local communities and businesses, is giving his time, contacts and business skills to lead the #RaisingAMillion campaign to help 1 million schoolchildren across the UK as schools face a growing crisis of escalating costs and reduced funding due to rising inflation.
The #RaisingAMillion campaign is calling on donations from individuals, communities and businesses to help state schools meet their resourcing needs this year. For example, Letslocalise is already supporting over 40 state schools across Birmingham, Walsall and Solihull, including Bellfield Junior School in Birmingham in their current appeal for new playground equipment. The school’s appeal is calling for donations towards the installation of a trim trail, some keep fit apparatus, and an all-season flooring to the playground area – all of which will greatly contribute to the physical wellbeing of the children.
Woodhouse Primary Academy in Quinton, in their recent campaign to raise in excess of £12,000 to create an essential outdoor play and learning space for children with autism, The Rainbow Room. An autistic base resource, the unit enables the school to support some of the most vulnerable children from the local area who are autistic, ensuring that they have a bespoke education tailored to their needs and a fulfilling and enjoyable time in an inclusive school
Mr. Wilson, Head teacher at Woodhouse Primary Academy in Birmingham said, “Before we campaigned for funding, our outdoor space for those with autism was a sad looking playground, it was run down and didn’t serve the needs of the children. We wanted to give them an outdoor space that was far better for their requirements. So, we ran an appeal, and managed to raise £26,000 of which £12,000 was raised through the LetsLocalise platform with members of our community, local businesses and families contributing. And for that, we’re very grateful. Our new Rainbow Room now accommodates a range of experiences and addresses a variety of issues including limited fine and gross motor skills, and cognitive and sensory impairments.”
Funds raised from #RaisingAMillion will go straight towards state schools on the LetsLocalise platform, including the Woodhouse Primary Academy – to bridge the gap that school underfunding and rising costs have created. Funds will be allocated to resources across five categories; school meals, literacy, STEM education, music and sports.
Joe Foster added: “While I came from a humble background and only started my formal education at ten because schools weren’t operating as normal in Bolton due to the second world war, I immediately valued my education – especially when I went to technical college at 13 to study engineering. This training was invaluable and enabled myself and my brother to set up our own shoemaking factory when I was just 23 years old and set me on the path as a business owner and founder of Reebok.
“The pandemic has unleashed an unprecedented crisis and triggered the biggest learning emergency in current times. We know schools in Birmingham today are dealing with incredible challenges, from the pandemic to soaring costs. Through the LetsLocalise platform, myself and my wife Julie are thrilled to be involved in launching the #RaisingAMillion campaign which will bring 1 million schoolchildren the resources they need to enhance their learning experience and transform their futures – just as I did.”
Since it was founded in 2018, LetsLocalise has become a ‘digital village’ of schools, local communities and businesses working towards a collective goal of providing students with better resources and opportunities, along with transparency on where donated funds will go. Businesses already working with the platform to supply financial donations, match-funding or direct resources include Legal & General, Cognizant, Verizon, the Ocado Group, L’Oreal and Three.
LetsLocalise Founders, Divya Garg and Gaurav Garg added: “We’re seeing a growing crisis in state schools across the West Midlands as headteachers and staff struggle to provide sufficient resources of even the most basic items due to real-term budget cuts and rocketing costs which is creating an influx in demand. Schools are already at risk of running a deficit with parts of their budget already overstretched – and the increase in energy costs means current budgets will struggle even further to cover this worrying, ever-rising expenditure. The obvious knock-on of a great share of budgets having to be spent on utilities is that state schools, who are already considerably underfunded and overstretched will now have even less budget available to spend on key educational resources.
“While we welcome the news announced by the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, of the new six month energy scheme for all non-domestic energy users including schools, the underfunding crisis runs much further and goes back decades. With a new Government in place, this presents a great opportunity to put schools top of their agenda and to give schools the much urgent financial support they need to try and head off this growing crisis.
“Our mission is to continue to work with schools nationwide so that while every headteacher is trying to sleep at night and facing these unprecedented challenges, money from #RaisingAMillion will be trickling into their school’s bank account so they can buy the essential resources they’ve requested when they wake up.”
LetsLocalise welcomes charity partners, corporate partners, individual supporters and Schools Alumni supporters from across Birmingham and the West Midands. To make a donation from as little as a £1 or more visit the #RaisingAMillion page on Letslocalise. Additionally, Birmingham state schools can also sign up and post their urgent requirements on the LetsLocalise platform. All school signups will be verified and checked by LetsLocalise.