Countryside Classroom - Connecting schools with food, farming and the natural environment

Growing Schools has been re-launched as Countryside Classroom, the largest ever partnership of organisations who are committed to helping children learn about food, farming and/or the natural environment.

It is the vision of Countryside Classroom that schools and teachers across the UK will embrace food, farming and the natural environment as essential components of a broad and balanced curriculum, incorporating them into day-to-day learning. As a result of this, every child will have the opportunity to learn about and experience these topics in diverse ways that are increasingly supported by experiences outside the classroom.

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Money / fundraising / saving
There are three distinct elements to fundraising:

  • Reducing your need for money
  • Raising money within the local community
  • Securing funding from other sources such as charitable trusts, government, local council, the lottery and companies.

Reducing your need for money: you can take a range of measures including: ensure that good energy and water efficiency measures are designed into the project, that discounts are negotiated for materials, that waste is composted to reduce plant feed costs ... and of course try to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Raising money within your community

This has three complementary elements:

  • The donation of services and resources (donations in-kind) – consider how easy is it for people to donate services and resources to the school/garden/farm, do people know how?
  • Income generation through the sale of services and goods, and even hire of facilities (garden parties?)
  • Local fundraising activities; plant sales, bring and buy etc.

Types of sources of funding
External sources of funding fall into following main categories:

  • Charitable trusts
  • Company donations
  • Contracts / Service Level Agreements
  • Events and activities
  • Goods and services in kind
  • Government (central, county or local) departments
  • Government initiatives, e.g. Neighbourhood Renewal
  • Sales (produce, products, farm shop)
  • Secondments
  • Sponsorship.

Charitable trusts
There are nearly 8,000 grant giving trusts in the United Kingdom (out of nearly 180,000 registered charities), giving over £2.6 billion each year.
Information about charities providing grants can be found at:

Other places to look for funding
Web-based fundraising now includes registering with organisations such as Mission Fish whereby EBay encourages buyers to make a donation to a charity of their choice:
In Kind Direct: matches the surplus goods from companies with the needs of communities.
Charity Choice: publicise the free services, goods or volunteers offered by companies for you to see if any might be what you need at the time you need them.

The Natural Connections Demonstration project is using social media in innovative ways to generate income. Read More.

Funding Sites (subscription service)  (subscription service)
and FCFCG website and our newsletter-

Local companies and local branches of national or international companies may be willing to support you. Personal contact is likely to reap the greatest interest, whether that is by a parent who works for a company and makes a personal plea for support, or someone you know who can find out how decisions are made within the company and on which good causes they are likely to support. There are a number of ways in which a company might help, such as:

  • Sponsoring an event
  • Providing donations in-kind (such as a second-hand piece of equipment or greenhouse, tools, or supplying seeds or plants)
  • Giving preferential discounts on goods you buy from them
  • Major companies often have a 'corporate citizenship' or grant-making arm themselves, sometimes supporting schools local to their branches
  • Loaning a member of staff on short-term work experience or secondment to help with a particular project or problem
  • Providing a team of staff for a day making practical improvements to your site as a team building/staff development activity, often referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility
    • Paying for some advertising in your newsletter or even printing it.

Publications The Directory of Social Change publishes a number of reference books, often annually updated, where funders can be found who are specifically interested in schools work.

A directory of sources of funding related to Growing Schools can be found in the following areas.