The Sunday Times has raised £150k for a Broadwater Farm primary school in Tottenham, North London.
The Sunday Times Magazine called on its readers to donate to a crowdfunder set up to help children on the Broadwater Farm estate, for a summer play experience. By the end of the day, over £100k was raised.
The estate, with 1,000 dwellings, was where PC Keith Blakelock was murdered during a riot in 1985, and saw disturbances during the 2011 unrest after police shot dead Mark Duggan, who lived there.
The feature, which can also be read online here expressed the concerns of parents on the estate, who fear letting their children out of the house during the six-week summer holidays due to high levels of gang crime and violence, and cannot afford trips away.
Dawn Ferdinand the Head Teacher of The Willow School said:“My team and I are already dreading the moment we have to shut the school gates for the six-week summer holiday. For so many children living in these conditions, school is their anchor. Alongside learning, it is the place where they are fed and can play safely while their parents work.
“We have tried desperately to find a way to stay open, but, even with the lowest subsidised day rate, it adds up to more than many Broadwater Farm parents could dream of affording. Many of our families are being fed on as little as £35 a week. Some of our children will rarely venture outside this summer.”
On plans for the summer holidays, these are the responses that the one class gave included, “I might be going to the park one day,” “I would love to go swimming,” and “I’d like to try a trampoline”.
The JustGiving page which seeks to raise money for a summer play experience listed various activities that they could fund, including:
- £200 to take 30 children swimming
- £300 to fund a summer outing to an art gallery or a museum
- £2,500 to support 10 of the most vulnerable children to attend a local summer play scheme
As of 3pm on Monday, more than £158,000 has been raised, surging past the £100,000 total on Sunday night. Almost 1,900 separate donations have been made, with an average of £80.
Eleanor Mills, Editor of The Sunday Times Magazine said: “On behalf of the children of The Willow School on Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham thank you so much for donating so generously to this fund to make their summer holiday a happy one.
“As Editor of the Sunday Times Magazine I am so delighted by the reaction of our readers, the fact that we have raised so much money in only 24 hours shows the value and importance of storytelling.
“I am delighted that Sharon Hendry’s heartfelt report on the plight of the children who dread the summer holidays struck such a chord with so many of you that we have been able to raise over £160,000 to give the children a summer to remember. And one which will be potentially life-changing in its effects.”
Dawn Ferdinand the Head Teacher of The Willow School said: “We are overjoyed…. there are no words. Thank you so much for giving my community the opportunity to have a voice on the wider stage, to tell their stories and help raise awareness about the reality of their lives. The response has been overwhelming.
“Over the next week and beyond I will be working with my senior leadership team and staff to put a programme of holiday events together for the children. When we have worked out the programme we will share it with you all. I am speechless – thank you.”