The community of Calderdale is on a fundraising mission to build its only special high school a new sixth form site and community centre.
The Ravenscliffe@SpringHall school campaign is an ambitious aspiration to build a £2.7 million fully accessible sixth form for Ravenscliffe High School pupils with scope for wider community use after school hours at Halifax’s athletic race track site.
Calderdale Council has awarded £1.5m towards the project but an additional £1.2m is needed to commission the build.
The Skircoat Green High School’s population has out-grown the sites capacity - the number of students on site should be 69 plus staff. The school is double its recommended capacity with 139 students enrol.
The school has called on the people of Calderdale to back the campaign through a host of fundraising events.
Ravenscliffe hosted a black tie Spring Ball for Spring Hall at The Venue, Barkisland, which raised over £9,000 towards making the Spring Hall dream a reality. £5,000 was raised through the auction with the world’s largest KitKat selling for £45.
Head teacher Martin Moorman said: “The evening was a great opportunity to bring the school and wider community together and raise some much needed funds for our project.”
Animal by-product waste management company Leo Group Ltd, based in Halifax, pledged £25,000 to the Ravenscliffe@SpringHall campaign.
Leo Group chief executive officer Danny Sawrij, pictured, said: “After visiting the school, it’s clear they’re doing a fantastic job. Leo Group has pledged £25,000 to make Ravenscliffe@SpringHall a reality.”
Former head teacher Mike Hirst pledged his support in a 24 hour buskathon. Over two days, Mike was joined by Ravenscliffe pupils, staff and parents at various Halifax retail outlets where they entertained shoppers and collected a grand total of £2,500 from the public and Harveys of Halifax.
Mr Hirst said: “I have believed in the Ravenscliffe@SpringHall project for many years and I wanted to do my bit, with the support of retailers and the Calderdale community, to make this dream come true.”
Schools across the region showed their support en masse in a Dress Down for Ravenscliffe day. Pupils from 40 Calderdale schools wore casual clothing and donated £1 towards building the dream. The collaborated efforts went a long way in raising a staggering £15,000.
David Lord, Headteacher of Ryburn Valley School, whose school raised £1,300 for Ravenscliffe@SpringHall said: “Raising the money was an absolute pleasure for such a good local cause and our fundraising push paid off resulting in our highest ever collection.”
Over half-term, Ravenscliffe school governor and Lloyds senior executive Paul Palmer walked 62 miles from London to Brighton and raised over £2,000.
His colleague, senior executive Phil Bishop, ran in the Edinburgh marathon to fundraise for Ravenscliffe@SpringHall.
Lloyds managing director David Nicholson has secured a £5,000 bank grant towards the project.
People of Calderdale have ‘bought a brick for Ravenscliffe’ through the school’s website.
On July 11, the Ravenscliffe High School, Highbury and Woodbank special school pupils will perform in the musical Tour de Force at Victoria Theatre, Halifax, see the box office for tickets.
Community fundraising has generated over £180,000 since January. Successful bids of £100,000 from Sport England and £2,500 from ACT Foundation, with more applications in the pipe line, added to school saving funds and community fundraising, has generated over half a million pounds.
Mr Moorman said: “Raising the funds needed to build this facility was always going to be a challenge. We need to get to £2.54m for the build costs alone, but with these efforts and support from so many others the total now stands at around £2.1m. The way so many people across Calderdale and beyond have bought bricks, supported events and written in support of the project has been such an encouragement. Our sincere thanks to them all.”