Crowdfunding for SEN: Our fundraising portfolio provides ongoing enrichment for our pupils

Lansbury Bridge School uses crowdfunding platform IMC to coordinate part of its portfolio of campaigns

Lansbury Make It Happen (LMIH) is the registered charity for our special needs school in St Helens, Merseyside. Since we have 222 pupils, ranging in age from three to 16, with varying additional needs (and all with an EHCP), we have a wide variety of things we fundraise for on an ongoing basis. Every project is about helping our pupils expand their horizons and lead enriching lives, by supporting them on their journey into adulthood.

Our last project involved updating two of our four playgrounds. Our pupils’ needs change with each cohort and we currently have a high proportion of children who are autistic, so we wanted to add trim trail equipment in our internal quadrangle, with a sensory circuit for movement breaks. We also upgraded the wheelchair-friendly swing and roundabout in our accessible playground.

With this work completed last year, we’re now fundraising for our next big project: IT and computing improvements. The school has a rolling programme of upgrades so we would like to purchase small amounts of equipment quickly and show the impact it is having.

Our first purchase was new iPads and we are about to support further with computers. IT enables many of our pupils to have a voice. Some have exceptional IT skills and know exactly what they want, so we listen to the Pupil Voice in deciding what to purchase, as well as supporting their educational needs. We also look out for equipment that is adapted to meet differing needs, for instance devices for communication, VR headsets and interactive screens for assemblies. We are very aware of the issues around online safety, so have invited Merseyside Police to come in and talk to the children about this.

Our ongoing fundraising raises between £2,000 and £5,000 a year. Particularly with lockdown, a lot of people began asking for ways to donate online rather than in cash. So, to better coordinate and publicise our fundraising, we decided to use the crowdfunding platform InvestMyCommunity (now known as GoodHub). They do a really good job, showing us how to make the best use of the system and how to add linked pages for specific events or individual activities. This year, a relative of a member of staff ran the Manchester 10K and raised £635 on her linked page for our IT for All campaign. A parent ran the Virtual London Marathon for us too, raising £760. To get supporter buy-in, we often post pictures on our Facebook and crowdfunding pages to show people what their donations will look like in equipment. 

Our pupils get involved in sponsored activities too, including themed walks around our track. We have a Scarecrow Walk around Harvest Time, when they make their own scarecrows. Last summer, we raised £827 with a Room on the Broom event for younger pupils (based on the Julia Donaldson book) and a Harry Potter trail for secondary pupils (who had to find 30 golden snitches in our polytunnel area, with prizes at the end). 

In addition, we’ve run a really successful Christmas shopping evening. We advertised on Facebook for people to book a stall and were inundated! We charged £10 a table, plus a donation to the raffle. This, and the entry fee of 50p per person, raised just over £800.

We have benefitted from legacy donations for some time now, and local businesses also support us. Screwfix gave £5,000 towards our playground equipment, which really bolstered our funds, and Jaguar Land Rover recently donated £1,000. We were nominated to receive £1,000 from the Benefact Group. We also received £1,000 from the Arnold Clark Community Fund and won £1,000 from the Asda Token Scheme. The local Co-op depot has been an amazing support as well. We get around £100 every three months from AmazonSmile and we are registered on Easyfundraising. We even have a card with the local scrap merchants, whereby we get funds for every load of metal we bring (we have quite a lot of old equipment and it’s much better than going to landfill).

Last July, we ran our first summer fair in three years, raising more than £2,200. It was well attended and there were lots of happy faces on what was a lovely sunny day. One of our ongoing fundraisers is the Perspex donation tubes we have put in the reception area. The tube came from our old light room and people love emptying their pockets and throwing in loose change (and sometimes notes!). We’ve raised over £800 this way. There are lots of pennies to count but they really do make pounds and it’s a lovely visual for seeing funds increase.


  • Claire Jones, trustee of LMIH

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