Preston Primary School 'humbled' by community support after summer makeover

PUBLISHED: 15:48 09 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:04 10 October 2019

Four local businesses answered the call to help fund Preston Primary School's urgent refurbishments. Picture: Liz Tye

Four local businesses answered the call to help fund Preston Primary School's urgent refurbishments. Picture: Liz Tye

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A village primary school near Hitchin has been given a new lease of life after reaching out to the community.

Teams of volunteers worked round the clock to get the school ready for the new term. Picture: Liz TyeTeams of volunteers worked round the clock to get the school ready for the new term. Picture: Liz Tye

Preston Primary School received an overwhelming response after approaching local businesses to help with a much-needed makeover of classrooms and grounds.

Headteacher Inneke Luitingh spoke with parents and staff in July of this year to discuss creative ways to fund the school refurb.

Walls and display boards were in desperate need of transformation. Picture: Liz TyeWalls and display boards were in desperate need of transformation. Picture: Liz Tye

Pilkington Farms, a farming partnership based in nearby Offley Hoo, donated £700 worth of materials for a new playground fence - after areas had been cordoned off during lunchtimes.

MP Build, a contractor based in Hitchin, contributed £500's worth of painting materials to give classroom walls a new look.

Hitchin community pulls together for Preston Primary School. Picture: Liz TyeHitchin community pulls together for Preston Primary School. Picture: Liz Tye

Teams of willing volunteers also came from Herts Community Payback Probation and Luton-based travel company TUI Ltd - who provided painters and decorators as part of their community outreach programmes.

Much of the makeover came together during the summer break before pupils returned to the Back Lane school in September.

Headteacher Inneke Luitingh said Headteacher Inneke Luitingh said "small schools are finding it increasingly more difficult" to fund maintenance works. Picture: Liz Tye

It was a true community effort, with parents and carers chipping in to offer support - and eager pupils on hand with ice lollies and water to decorators.

Headteacher Inneke Luitingh said: "The weight of help from parents, governors and staff, and the rest of the community who have worked incredibly hard, has been so generous.

The immaculate new classrooms ready for the school term. Picture: Liz TyeThe immaculate new classrooms ready for the school term. Picture: Liz Tye

"We are all totally humbled by the process. It has been faith in humanity restored to see people, with no direct connection to the school, giving up their time to help us. We can't thank people enough.

An assembly was held last Thursday, October 4, in which pupils and staff came together to offer their thanks.

The immaculate new classrooms ready for the school term. Picture: Liz TyeThe immaculate new classrooms ready for the school term. Picture: Liz Tye

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A letter signed by every pupil was presented to representatives of the businesses for their tireless efforts.

Representatives from Pilkington Farms Ltd and TUI Ltd were present at a school assembly last Thursday to receive letters of thanks from pupils. Picture: Liz TyeRepresentatives from Pilkington Farms Ltd and TUI Ltd were present at a school assembly last Thursday to receive letters of thanks from pupils. Picture: Liz Tye

Mrs Luitingh added: "Small schools are finding it increasingly more difficult to ensure important jobs like this can be done and it is only through the generous donations made by business and individuals that improvements like this can be made."

Christian Tye, director of strategic programmes at TUI - who is also a parent at the school - said: "It was a great team bonding experience, and having my daughter at Preston made it extra special. It was great to give something back to the community."

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