Shop Local: Three Kensal Schools urge parents to shop within the area
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of Queen’s Park, Brondesbury and Kensal Green school parents have been inspired to come together to support the Shop Local campaign launched by the Brent & Kilburn Times.
Every year, cash-strapped state schools raise thousands of crucial pounds through Christmas raffles organised by their Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), usually relying on the generosity of local businesses to donate gifts.
But with the coronavirus pandemic shutting many independent shops in the two lockdowns this year, it’s the local businesses which need support.
Malorees Infant and Junior School (MIJS) governor Giles Deards said: “Each PTA represents hundreds of parents, carers and friends of each school community – a huge amount of local custom.
“So the community-minded PTAs have decided to turn the tables around this year to ask their parents to instead buy items from their favourite independent or small local business to support their fundraising activities.”
Malorees and Salusbury Primary schools in Queen’s Park have decided to create dozens of unique Christmas hampers for their fundraising school winter raffles, while Princess Frederica CofE Primary School parent body is asking parents to choose their favourite local stores to support.
Dana Horsfall of MIJS’ Parent, Staff and Friends Association (PSFA) said: “It has been great to receive so many generous donations from our wonderful local businesses over the years, helping our school run school trips, music lessons and buy laptops.
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“We want to make sure we support them back.
“Our idea is for each of our 15 classes to create Christmas hampers. If each of our parents buy a hamper item or voucher from a local shop we’ll help put thousands of pounds into our local economy, as well as create unique local gifts!”
Marie O’Neill of Friends of Salusbury Primary School added: “These are difficult economic times for everyone. However, schools still need to fundraise, and what better way than to support our wonderful local businesses at the same time?”
She added: “Hundreds of teacher and staff gifts are given every Christmas across Brent and if even just a few more of these are local gifts and vouchers, instead of from the likes of M&S, John Lewis or Amazon, it will mean thousands of extra pounds reaches local small businesses.”
Melissa Jolly of Princess Frederica said: “We want to do everything we can to help one another through these difficult times. It’s great also for the three schools to come together like this to share ideas.”
Rudy Siano of Cuore Italian Deli, in Sidmouth Road, said: “A good business supports its community and even stronger one is one that’s supported back.
“Cuore Deli is proud to offer a wide range of good food and a place for people to meet and we also support local food aid initiatives.
“We don’t expect anything in return for that; it’s the right thing to do. But it’s really appreciated that Malorees and Salusbury schools are doing this.”
Tracy Brent of Chine gift shop and garden store, in Chamberlayne Road, added: “The lockdowns have been really tough for independents like us.
“We’ve adapted by moving the shop outside and promoting online but we really prefer the personal touch of being on our high street. We strongly believe our independent stores and businesses have at least the same quality as huge stores - and by buying from local stores, we can all support local jobs much better.”
Sofia Galli of Bread Ahead on Lonsdale Road added: “We’ve only been open a few weeks on Lonsdale Road but we already feel part of a strong community.
“With the support of local parents and residents, we hope to be here for a long time.”
Cat Scourfield of Nooki in Chamberlayne Road, said: “Nooki has always supported schools and charities with gifts we know mums and children love.
“It’s great to know the three schools appreciate us back. The Christmas period is so important to us and we’d urge shoppers to buy the great quality and variety you can find locally, rather than from online giants that contribute little or nothing to our local economy or high street.”
Malorees, Salusbury and Frederica are now taking food collections every Monday to be shared into organisations such as Salusbury World’s Gift Your Neighbour food initiative. Food can be requested via www.bit.ly/Giftmeal.