School fundraising: Enabling enrichment

Extra-curricular activities and trips that stand out from the school day can create memories and experiences that last a lifetime. So how can you deliver them, asks Jane Hughes

The clue is in the name. ‘Enrichment’ suggests activities that go beyond the standard curriculum, deepening pupil understanding, awareness and enjoyment of both school subjects and the wider world. It provides children with opportunities to explore and experience new ideas and places, sparking their imaginations and passions and introducing them to fresh skills and future career possibilities.

Enrichment means so much to so many pupils – from a first-time visit to the theatre or the countryside to talking face to face with an adult visitor working in a specialised field. And with pupils missing out on schooling during the pandemic, enrichment is more important than ever in supporting them in catching up on lost learning and bonding time with peer groups. It has clear benefits for mental health and wellbeing and is encouraged by the DfE and Ofsted (which emphasises the importance of personal development and extending the curriculum beyond academic achievement).

Yet funding has always been a struggle – and that’s truer than ever in the current economic climate, particularly for schools in areas of high deprivation. Much of the fundraising advice we provide here at FundEd is about helping schools deliver enrichment. So we’ve compiled the following mini-guide to bring some key ideas together. Below, we have profiled a range of options and resources, alongside case studies of how schools have secured enrichment for their pupils.

Our guide to delivering enrichment

Tried and tested

Crowdfunding and events

There are many platforms that allow you to run one-off or ongoing campaigns online. For an enrichment appeal, it’s best to organise a dedicated fundraising event or series of events (such as a Grow a Pound challenge) that you can publicise on your crowdfunding platform. The GoodHub site, for instance, allows you to profile what you are raising money for – and why. Creating such a story around what enrichment means for your pupils and what difference it will make to them is what really encourages people to give. The site also shows a running tally of your donations and provides a QR code for easy giving. Pupils and teachers can set up their own linked pages to attract more donations.

Work with your PTA

Traditionally PTA fundraisers have been one of the main sources of enrichment funds, though their remit has increasingly expanded to fill other funding gaps. Many PTAs still put aside funds to support enrichment, but you could galvanise their support by collaborating on a specific activity and fundraising target. Visit for inspiration.

Run a raffle

If your School Fund or PTA is a registered charity, you could organise a raffle to pay for enrichment activities. Someone will have to put the work in to source prizes but a well-run and well-publicised raffle could raise several thousand pounds. Online sites, such as, allow you to sell tickets and accept and track donations, taking away the need for time-consuming paper tickets and cash payments.

Set up a school lottery

Why not consider setting up a school lottery that could provide a dedicated funding stream for enrichment at 

Community and voluntary organisations

Keep an eye out for new local and national funding streams you can tap into – whether from charities, local councils, foundations and trusts, Rotary or Lions clubs. These are often initiated to improve educational engagement and support children post-pandemic.

Why not try?

Local universities and colleges

These institutions usually have outreach teams that work to raise their profile and develop a more inclusive intake for the future. Indeed, individual departments may have their own outreach team that organises visits to local schools and can lend out or provide free resources (see overleaf for how Sussex University’s physics and astronomy department lends out its planetarium). Outreach teams may also organise speakers, workshops, student ambassadors or other activities for both primary and secondary pupils.

For instance, London Metropolitan University’s Widening Participation team runs specific events for students who have been in local authority care, have a learning disability or are in other vulnerable groups. Imperial College runs activities, including primary school planetarium days (held at the campus and nearby Science Museum), talks with scientists, and a science club programme for schools in disadvantaged areas. Meanwhile, the University of Manchester’s Gateways Programme enables learners in Years 7 to 11 to participate in academic enrichment and higher education awareness activities, where they can find out more about university life, explore courses and develop a range of skills.

Competitions and awards

Look out for competitions run by charities and trusts that offer cash prizes or resources. Of course, taking part in such competitions can be enriching in itself!

The RHS School Gardening Competition, for instance, aims to inspire pupils to make a difference to their area through learning new life skills and experiencing the benefits of gardening. The winners receive a glasshouse and £500 in National Garden gift vouchers. The competition is part of the RHS’s Campaign for School Gardening, which provides free resources and advice to 29,000 schools across the UK.

Meanwhile, the OVO Foundation Nature Prize, run in partnership with Let’s Go Zero, offers schools the chance to win up to £1,000 to implement a student-designed nature project that improves biodiversity and creates spaces for students to connect with nature. There are ten prizes of £1,000 and 15 prizes of £200. Project ideas might involve tree planting, vegetable growing or supporting wildlife in the school grounds.

The Royal Society of Chemistry runs several competitions, including the UK Chemistry OIympiad for sixth form students to challenge themselves to develop critical problem-solving skills, think more creatively and test their knowledge in real-world situations. The society also supports the I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here programme, which connects students with working chemists and other STEM professionals. Plus it has a network of local education coordinators, offering support to primary and secondary school teachers and working in partnership with local STEM and education-focused organisations to encourage engagement with the chemical sciences. See

Free resources and offers

Many cultural organisations offer free resources or site visits. The English Heritage education programme offers free school trips to more than 400 historic sites, while the RNLI is one of many museums offering free entry for schools. Theatres, such as the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, offer a variety of enrichment projects, workshops and school partnerships to bring learning to life. The Royal Exchange’s projects aim to ‘pique students’ interest in a career in theatre, providing young people with an opportunity to explore the wide variety of roles available in the arts sector’.

Partnering with business

Initiatives such as STEM Learning’s ENTHUSE Partnership and Ahead Partnership (featured in the Autumn 2023 issue) work with local businesses to run enrichment programmes for school pupils, which may include activity days, visits to business sites or parks and skills-building workshops led by industry professionals.

Grant funding for enrichment

For schools in north and west London, the John Lyon’s Charity now has a dedicated application portal at (covering the boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Camden, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, City of London). Click on the grants tab to find details of the following three funding streams:

  • Schools in Partnership Fund – open to clusters of schools for projects related to access and progression, emotional wellbeing, arts and culture and SEND enrichment for Special Schools only
  • Cultural Capital Fund – provides face-to-face access to high quality arts experiences
  • School Holiday Activity Fund (SHAF) enables organisations to deliver fun and accessible activities during school holidays.

The Universal Music UK Sound Foundation gives grants of up to £1,500 to schools for the purchase or upgrade of musical equipment.

The Hockey Youth Trust provides grants of between £100 and £1,200 to support the development of hockey in schools.

Poetry Ireland offers a subsidy for author visits or residencies, reducing the cost to the school to just €100 for a single author visit. Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland only.

The Roman Society offers from £50 to £600 to promote Latin and Roman studies. This can be used to purchase resources or fund study days on Roman themes.

The UK-German Connection has funding to foster partnerships between young people in the UK and Germany.

The BlueSpark Foundation has grants of up to £5,000 for projects which enhance young people’s self-confidence, team working skills and future employability.

To find more grants for enrichment, go to the FundEd grants database.

Delivering enrichment:

We did it!

‘Our local university lent us a planetarium’

‘School trips can be prohibitively expensive for some students so our science department had the idea of bringing a mobile planetarium into school. This would allow us to provide the planetarium experience to a whole year group and make it much easier for nervous students (particularly those in our autism unit) to access because they could stay in a familiar environment.

However, when we discovered that the cost of hiring a planetarium was around £500 plus VAT, I got in touch with the Department of Physics and Astronomy outreach team at Sussex University. I had received earlier emails about the outreach work provided across the university, including free use of a mobile planetarium, and realised I could tap into what they were offering. I did have to be persistent to get things organised and I had to do quite a lot of liaising to make sure the four-metre high inflatable dome would fit into our school hall. But we finally managed to book a date in May.

The university team were able to inflate the dome in our hall within half an hour. It looked like a UFO had landed and it created a huge buzz, with excited students trying to peer through the doors. The planetarium show was projected inside the dome and we took in groups of around 30 students for each 20-minute session. The show, We Are Astronomers, was designed with the GCSE spec in mind (covering the electro-magnetic spectrum for example). We ran ten sessions to accommodate the whole of Year 8 and also some Year 9 students – and we had a fantastic reaction from all.

I also opened two evening sessions to families in our community for a nominal fee. This was partly to help with community relationship building and also to attract possible new pupils in the future. Additionally, one of our parents, Robert Massey, of the Royal Astronomical Society, gave a talk about a book he has co-written with art historian Alexandra Loske called The Moon in Science, Art and Culture. We sold tickets for the talk, which explored how the moon has been used in art since time began and how it is viewed across different cultures. It was followed by a Q&A and the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book. Around 70-80 people attended and we provided refreshments. This raised about £400 for our coffers, so it was a win/win all round!’

  • Amanda Burgess, community liaison and income generating manager, Priory School, Lewes

‘Our students have enjoyed theatre workshops and trips’

‘We have a hugely diverse intake of students at our north west London secondary academy, with immigrant and refugee students from all over the world and a cohort that is around 50% Muslim. There are also high levels of deprivation and poverty in our area, so the much-needed help we get from the John Lyon’s Charity (JLC) really does enrich the lives of our students.

JLC has funded several arts organisations to deliver activities for groups of schools in our area, such as a two-day spoken word workshop by Paddington Arts, which was attended by 20 of our GCSE drama students. Those same students are now attending a residency programme of workshops run by the Kiln Theatre Project and again funded by JLC. It has been an incredible experience for them, as they have been able to learn first hand how a theatre works and what goes on backstage. The charity also funded a performance by the Primary Shakespeare Company, which we hosted at our school theatre. We opened the event to the families of Year 5 children in the area, so that we could build relations with prospective parents and future students.

This is the second year JLC has given us a £5,000 grant to fund the whole of Year 7 (180 students plus teachers) to go and see a pantomime. Not only is this the first experience of live theatre for most of our cohort, but it has really helped build a sense of community and camaraderie for the year group, who now have that collective celebratory memory to look back on.

Many of our students wouldn’t be able to afford a trip to the theatre so it has been hugely significant to make this happen for them. On the first trip (to see Snow White and the Seven Superheroes at the community-based Millfield Theatre in Edmonton), we realised that many of our children were not familiar with the traditions of pantomime, such as the booing and the ‘Oh no he isn’t/ Oh yes he is’ interaction with the audience. So on the second trip to the Millfield Theatre, we prepped the children in advance. This time they got very involved and absolutely loved it!

Our grant from JLC covered the cost of hiring two coaches to take the students on the 40-minute journey. The production was dynamic and aspirational, with lots of young people singing and dancing in the cast, which really engaged our students.’

  • Gavin Kensit, director of the arts and primary liaison lead, Capital City Academy, Willesden, London

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