School raises almost £40k for new sports hall

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 February 2017

Behaviour manager Sebastian Symons with Bobby, aged 10, Blaize, aged 8, and Sam, aged 8.

Behaviour manager Sebastian Symons with Bobby, aged 10, Blaize, aged 8, and Sam, aged 8.


A North Somerset school which launched an appeal to raise £64,000 for a new sports hall has already raised half of that amount in less than a year.

Westhaven, in Uphill, caters for around 90 pupils with a range of learning difficulties or physical disabilities.

The school, in Ellesmere Road, launched its appeal in February last year to raise money to build improved sports facilities and changing rooms for its pupils and has raised £38,980 so far.

Westhaven’s head of PE Tom Barlow said: “To have raised nearly £40,000 in one year is an amazing achievement but we need to keep the momentum going.

“The pupils have really got into the project and morale is really high.”

The school’s behaviour manager and football coach, Sebastian Symons, has launched a football project as another way to raise money.

He wrote letters to a number of Premier League and Championship football clubs asking for their support.

Mr Symons asked teams to send in any signed memorabilia and photographs, which could be auctioned off, as well as photos of the players doing the Westhaven Way ‘W’, making the letter with their hands, which could be displayed around the school.

In his letter, Mr Symons said: “We are looking to inspire and enthuse our students to the next level.

“We believe a photograph of one or more of your players doing the Westhaven Way ‘W’ would be just the thing to help.”

So far the appeal has received signed photographs from Liverpool FC, Aston Villa FC and Rotherham United FC.

Mr Barlow said: “We appreciate all the help we get but sometimes those (high-profile) supporters really motivate our young people.”

The school hopes to apply to Sport England’s Inspired Facilities fund for the remaining sum of money.

Mr Barlow said: “Our deputy head Jamie Peacock is going to organise a sponsored fun run which all pupils and staff will run next term.

“We also plan for our local cycling coach, Marc Malloy, to complete a bike ride from our school to Westhaven in Scotland.”

He added: “We always acknowledge every donation, large or small.

“We keep a list of all donations and send a letter of thanks to everyone who helps us.

“We are thinking of designing a plaque which will have all the names of supporters for when we build the sports hall.”

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