‘All eyes were on the goal as the girl took aim. With a firm kick, she sent the football sailing past the furry mascot’s outstretched paw. A delighted smile spread across her face as she realised she had scored, and her watching classmates erupted with cheers. Our penalty shoot-out was proving extremely popular.
Our Home and School Association (HSA)’s current aim is to entirely renovate the school’s adventure playground. It’s no mean feat – to finance the project, we need to raise £24,000 and we were expecting it to take at least three years.
Despite being an Aston Villa fan (don’t tell!), I contacted the Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation to see if they’d collaborate on a sponsored penalty shoot-out. The Foundation is the official charity of our local team and has a history of supporting schools. They were happy to help organise and run the event. In exchange, we’d split the money raised from sponsorship.
The Foundation sent a letter to every parent detailing how to collect sponsorship and the various prizes. Signed shirts and footballs would be awarded to the children who raised the most money, and everyone who took part would receive a certificate.
Our HSA team took on the advertising. As sponsorship money would be due one week before the event, we wanted to give parents plenty of notice. We sent reminders on ParentMail, posted on our Facebook group and featured the event in our newsletter.’
‘On the day of the shoot-out, the weather didn’t play ball, and when the team from the Foundation arrived to set up, we sadly directed them inside. But we needn’t have worried about the rain spoiling the atmosphere. The arrival of Wolfie, the mascot of Wolverhampton Wanderers, was more than enough excitement for the children. This friendly wolf would be our goalkeeper for the day.
The Foundation team created a brilliant, inclusive atmosphere: they gently encouraged the more timid children to get involved and helped a pupil with a broken leg take a shot. As each class cheered on their friends, we marvelled at the supportive energy in the room.
A week later, we gathered for a special assembly as Wolfie and the Foundation returned to school to announce our fundraising total. The mood in the hall was jubilant when they informed us that the penalty shoot-out had raised almost £16,000.
Adding nearly £8,000 to our fund is a complete game-changer for us. Instead of the expected three-year wait, we should now have our adventure playground ready by next summer.
- Kylie Bellingham, chair, Cotwall End Primary School Home and School Association, Dudley, West Midlands (460 pupils)