Coopers Lane Primary School Get Fundraising!

16 April 2021

Coopers Lane Primary School virtually reach the North Pole


As we prepare for the easing of lockdown restrictions we wanted to share an inspirational story from last year, of how a Primary School in the London Borough of Lewisham overcame the obstacles that the pandemic brought and kept children motivated with a true team spirit, by introducing an exciting challenge!


In November 2020, Coopers Lane Primary School’s PTA was looking at new ways of raising funds. Due to the Covid pandemic and lockdown restrictions, all planned events had been cancelled.


CHOOSING A FUNDRAISER


One of Coopers Lane Primary School’s parents, Jacqueline Lampon, who is also a British Cycling qualified coach, thought it would be a great idea to use her cycling skills and knowledge to encourage children to become more active throughout lockdown, whilst including a fundraising element to assist the school PTA. And, so the challenge was decided… to virtually reach the North Pole!

The 650 pupils and school staff at Coopers Lane Primary School could take part in the challenge by collectively cycling, scooting, skating, running or walking the distance to the North Pole, a whopping 2664 miles, all by Christmas.

Image by Donna Ford Photography

This 6-week challenge, would not only help the primary children, aged between 3-11 years, improve their physical and mental wellbeing, but also raise much-needed funds for the school PTA.

The pupils and staff could cover miles on their commute to school, after school, for home-schooling PE lessons, or at the weekend, which was then all recorded on Strava.


ENCOURAGING PARTICIPATION


To encourage participation, Jacqueline sought out prizes for each year group and gained sponsorship from Frog Bikes, Waterstones and Pedal Threadz, among others.

Prizes were reserved for ‘Best class’ and ‘Best in each year group’ and every child that participated was also awarded a goody bag, regardless of the miles they were able to achieve, which was a great motivator for getting the kids involved.


THE CHALLENGE


The pupils got started on notching up the miles, with one child covering a huge 223 miles in just one week! But it wasn’t just the older children who were smashing it, the Key Stage 1 children were competing right at the top of the leaderboard too. One of the mums said, My daughter prepared a speech for her class to get them to sign up to work towards the class prize.

The challenge received fantastic local support and coverage on Twitter:
Mayor of Lewisham, Damien EganWell done to everyone @CoopersLaneSch, that’s a fantastic achievement!
Councillor Sophie McGeevor: Lewisham Cabinet Member responsible for Environment and TransportBig shout out to the kids and carers of @CoopersLaneSch – look how far they have walked, cycled, scooted! When healthy habits start young they stick around for life.

What was also wonderful was the indirect effect it had on parents activity levels. One parent rediscovered cycling, having not ridden since she was a child, stated I can honestly say the North Pole challenge has been the push we needed. It’s amazing how empowering it feels.

And families who had never socialised together before were arranging group rides, to share exciting routes.

Not only were the children putting in extra active miles at the weekend, but they were also making special trips out after school. They were cycling all over London, to Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and Docklands, constantly finding and sharing new and exciting routes. One parent stated We have always cycled a lot as a family, but this challenge has taken our cycling to the next level.


THE RESULT


The challenge was hugely embraced with open arms by both pupils and staff alike, with 126 participants; 103 children and 23 staff. So much in fact, that the lead pupil covered over 695 miles alone in just 6 weeks!

The challenge was a huge success, not only did participants travel all the way to the North Pole, but they also travelled all the way back again, and smashed it some more! The total distance covered was an enormous 6856 miles!

One parent praising the challenge remarked Thank you for arranging such a great event, we have really enjoyed taking part.

And, to top it all of, the event has been the PTA’s biggest off-school premises fundraiser!

Jacqueline, Challenge Organiser commented This campaign allowed children to influence how active they wanted to be and their efforts left me speechless. I was so enormously proud of every one of them.


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