Fundraising campaign boosts art lessons in special school

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Art provision at a Bury St Edmunds special school has been given a major boost after art chiefs, neighbouring school, charities and the Duchess of Grafton teamed up for a fundraising campaign.

Pupils at the Priory School are now benefiting from a dozen new tablets which will be used to further promote art education.

The purchase was made possible after a community-led campaign to support the school raised almost £8,000.

Instigated by Jacqueline Livens, Young Arts Rep for The Arts Society West Suffolk, fundraising was organised by GeeWizz, Culford Prep School Parents Association and West Suffolk College while the Duchess of Grafton also made a significant donation alongside 10 local businesses and The Arts Society West Suffolk themselves.

Headteacher Lawrence Chapman said: “It is really fantastic to see so many partners come together to fund this exciting project. We would like to thank them for all their fundraising activities.

“It is going to make such a difference to arts education within the school and really increase the opportunities for our students.”

The multi-purpose tablets will be used for a number of educational means including creating art, research and video editing.

Jacqueline, who has been working alongside Priory School for five years, said: “People were very generous. We had donations from The Arts Society, Geewizz, 10 local businesses, Euston Estate, Culford Prep School and West Suffolk College.

“I would like to thank everyone who helped to buy these crucial pieces of equipment for such worthy students.”

The Duchess of Grafton, who is the President of The Arts Society West Suffolk, added: ‘Art in school is so important as it allows children to express themselves. This wouldn’t have happened without Jacqueline’s hard work and the fantastic fundraising of so many.”

Students at Culford Prep School and West Suffolk College organised a number of fundraising events in aid of the GeeWizz charitable foundation – which was then used to support the fundraising.

Clare Taylor, on behalf of Culford Prep School Parents Association, said: “We started working with GeeWizz when it was first set up as we were impressed with its purpose and keen to support a local charity helping to improve the lives of local children and their families.

“We are so humbled to see how this money has helped young people at the Priory School. We would like to thank all the children, parents and staff at Culford Prep School who supported our various fundraising events.”

Gareth Nolan, course director of business at West Suffolk College, added: “Every year West Suffolk College takes part in Global Enterprise Week when we focus on giving back to our local community.

“As soon as our students met Gina, they were completely inspired by her and fell in love with GeeWizz. Displaying innovation, team work and a host of business and marketing skills, they took what they had learned and put it into practice in a fantastic way to give back to their local community.

“The college is delighted that their hard work was rewarded with a great sum raised and also seeing what a difference it is making to the pupils of the Priory School.”

Gina Long MBE, founder of GeeWizz, said: “We would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who has organised and supported the various events and those who have donated to this very special cause. It is so lovely to see local organisations working together for the greater good to support young people in their community.”

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