• Staff at Brachers have selected the Friends of Five Acre Wood School, the charitable trust for the Maidstone special needs school, as its Charity of the Year and will now raise funds and build links with the school over the next two years.

    The 27 partners and staff at Brachers vote for a charity for two years that will receive the focus of the firm’s fundraising and community efforts. Last year it was Blackthorn Trust. Brachers staff have already raised over £40,000 for Kent charities over the last four years.

    Five Acre Wood School (FAW) is an outstanding all age (4-19) day District Special School for children and young people with profound, severe and complex learning difficulties. It currently has around 260 pupils and this is likely to grow to in excess of 300 by September 2017.

    The Friends of FAW charitable trust was set up in 2013 and has managed to raise almost £300,000 so far, which been spent on things such as minibuses, play equipment and classroom equipment to enhance the pupils’ experience whilst at school.

    The school is expanding, with a new wing under construction creating 23 new classrooms – but unfortunately, there is no funding to fit out a new sensory room, a music room, an ICT suite and a soft playroom. FAW also require more communication aids for the children, a new hydrotherapy pool and materials to create a sensory garden.

    Funds raised by Brachers will help towards these things. However, it won’t just be about fundraising – the firm will also encourage staff to get involved and build personal links with the school through such things as attending school events and fetes, visiting the school to read with the children and accompany them on trips, and volunteering activities.

    The firm already has links with the school in that one member of staff’s child attends the school and managing partner Jo Worby has been a Governor for the past two years.
    Jo Worby, Managing Partner at Brachers, said:

    “I am delighted that staff have voted for Friends of Five Acre Wood to be our selected charity for the next two years. It’s a wonderful school that does so much fantastic work with children and young people with special needs. It’s a place that makes a huge difference to many children’s lives. As a firm, we’re strongly committed to supporting good causes in the local community and I’m always really proud of how much our staff get involved. I’m sure that everyone will really get behind Five Acre Wood and hopefully we can raise much-needed funds to help the school continue to expand and improve its facilities. It’s exciting to be at the start of what I hope will be a fantastic relationship.”

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