Houghton School Helpers
Houghton School Helpers - Fun & Fundraisers
HSH formed in October 2012 as a revised group, following the disbandment of the PTA. As well as for fundraising, HSH exists to provide closer links between home and school and it is an excellent way to bring staff, parents and friends together socially in support of the school, working towards a common goal and having some fun along the way.
All parents and members of the school community are encouraged to get involved, even if they only have a small amount of time available. All families are automatically members of the HSH when their child joins our school.
Since HSH forming, we have managed to get our Charity Status reinstated.
Charity law requires voluntary organisations such as ours with an annual income in excess of £5,000 to register with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. As a charity we must abide by Charity Commission rules and regulations and we are bound by a governing document referred to as our constitution. Our constitution sets out the rules about how we operate as HSH and how we conduct ourselves. If you would like to see a copy of the constitution, please contact one of the Committee members or you can access it via the school website.
Being a registered charity enables the HSH to:
receive charitable donations from local and national companies
apply to grant-making charitable trusts; most charitable trusts will give grants only to groups formally recognised as charities
receive donations made through payroll giving and company matched giving schemes
apply for Gift Aid
The Start of HSH
Since the previous PTA had disbanded, a group of parents who recognised the necessity of a fundraising group to support the school, attended a vision meeting. As a result, Houghton School Helpers was born! A competition was organised to involve the children in designing a logo and drawing up a wish list.
Role of the Committee
Our HSH committee consists of four officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. We also have approximately 14 ordinary committee members to make up the full committee.The committee meet on a regular basis, usually once every half-term, with smaller working groups meeting as necessary when we are planning larger events.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)
Our Annual General Meeting is held at the beginning of the academic year and provides an opportunity for all parents to come along and hear in more detail about the work of HSH, the events we have run, the funds we have raised and how the money has been spent. It is also the occasion when we elect our new committee members and class representatives.
Our class representatives undertake a very important role. There are usually two representatives per class who provide a link between individual classes and parents and the HSH committee. The support from class representatives is vital when it comes to organising our main events from selling tickets to organising activities and stalls. We really could not manage without them.
We have a growing list of HSH volunteers who commit some of their time to helping at for an allotted time at specific events. Every little helps, so just half an hour assisting at an event would be invaluable.
A list of current HSH committee members, class representatives are in our regular newsletters. This list will be updated at our AGM. If you are interested in joining the committee or acting as a class representative or HSH volunteer, please do not hesitate to talk to a member of the Committee.
Support from PTA-UK (Parent Teacher Associations-UK)
HSH is a member of the PTA-UK, which is a national charity and membership organisation providing support and guidance for all home school associations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Our association is one of over 13,000 members in current membership of the. PTA-UK. We pay an annual membership fee to the PTA-UK which gives us lots of member benefits including comprehensive insurance cover for PTA-UK all run events, support and advice on running HSH, plus fundraising ideas and good practice hints and tips.– www.ncpta.org.uk.
How we raise money
We hold a cake raffle every Friday, which is a regular source of income for HSH. A volunteer bakes a cake, which is then raffled off with tickets are sold for 20p each. Throughout the year we have raised money in various ways, including:
- Design and selling of individual children’s Christmas cards and labels
- Christmas Tree Festival
- Mothers’ Day sale
- Easter Family Fun Night
- Houghton School Helpers Red, White and Blue Tombola at the Jubilee Village Fete
- Fathers’ Day sale
- The Giving Machine
- Recycling ink cartridges
Additionally, now we have our charity status reinstated, we intend to make grant and trust fund applications.
Company matched giving
Company matched giving is a very simple. Companies or businesses pledge to donate to a charity such as ourselves an amount of money relating to the amount that an employee(s) donates or fundraises for us. There are many benefits to the employee, employee and the designated charity, including:
employees’ morale is boosted by having their efforts supported by their employer
the company benefits from having charitable donations written off against taxable profits
the company can endeavour to get publicity for their giving
benefits from receiving perhaps double what we have raised at an event
We would very much like to take advantage of this scheme, so if you think that your employer has a matched giving scheme already in operation, we would be delighted to hear from you!
How we spend the money we raise
Following a fundraising event the money is counted and banked straight away. It is at our HSH Committee meetings, that the decisions on how to spend the money are agreed.
After consulting children and staff, we have a wish list of items, some of which we have fulfilled, including books and playground equipment. Additionally, we are very much guided by the Head Teacher and staff and are currently focusing on raising money to improve a ICT of the curriculum or school environment. The HSH funds are spent on the ‘extras’ that are not provided by the school’s budget, thus making our children’s learning experiences so much more fulfilling and exciting.
A proportion of the money is spent fairly quickly. However, some is saved towards our longer-term fund raising focus.
How we get information to you
Following each meeting, a HSH newsletter is sent out to update parents. You will receive this either on paper or via parent mail. Additionally, look on out HSH notice board for information about specific events.
How you can get involved
There are lots of ways you can help and support your child through HSH.
Offering to help before events or at other times during the year is so valuable. It doesn’t matter if you can’t help on a regular basis, or even if you can not come into school. There are always jobs that can be done from home if you have half an hour to spare e.g. wrapping gifts, preparing raffle tickets etc. We really couldn’t achieve what we do without the behind the scenes help that we receive.
If you would like to be more involved you can volunteer to be a Class Representative or Committee Member. Or you can simply support the AGM and give us your ideas for fundraising events. This is also the time to ask questions or voice your opinion.
You can help by letting us know if you have any contacts or skills we could use, everything is potentially valuable to us.
And finally, we are always extremely grateful to receive donations as mentioned before.