Stewart Weedon confesses he didn’t always work hard at school. He remembers larking about in the playground and never thought that one day he’d come back to offer his support. He didn’t think he’d ever run his own company either, but in 2016, Stewart left his day job and opened local estate agency Presidential Estates.
Our collaboration began when I asked Stewart if his company would donate raffle prizes to the PTA. He found he enjoyed giving back and wanted to do more. We agreed I would contact him whenever we needed sponsorship. From this start, we’ve developed a mutually profitable partnership – the PTA suggests ideas and provides opportunities for sponsorship, and Presidential Estates benefits from regular advertising and direct access to networking with families.
Over the past two years, Stewart has worked closely with me and vice-chairs Kerrie Brown and Charlotte Day to turn some of our most ambitious ideas into reality. He’s a big believer in community and wants to create real opportunities for the children. ‘School is the first real community kids have, so I want to make that as good as it can be,’ he says.
Stewart can often be found at our school. As parents gathered to collect their children from a PTA disco one night, they encountered a welcome surprise. From behind a small stand, Stewart made free hot chocolates for anyone who asked. He was in his element as he added marshmallows to every drink.
The PTA organises seven or eight activities each term and offers Stewart plenty of different ways to get involved. At Christmas, he donated 350 books so that every child could receive a gift from Santa. For Easter, he sent enough Easter eggs for the whole school, including the teachers. My personal favourite is our printed tote bags. Stewart paid for a bag for every parent with our school logo on one side and Presidential Estates’ logo on the other. We added tea, chocolate and a personal letter from him to every bag and gave them out at the start of term.
Stewart is building a reputation for generosity. His donations and support helped us complete an £8,500 project for new outside gym equipment for KS2, and he has just agreed to sponsor the school’s new football kit.
Stephanie Coxell, PTA chair, St John Fisher Catholic Primary School, Loughton, Essex (330 pupils)