FFT Charity Effinity Funding Helps Improve Children’s Futures

1 July 2022

A new Inclusion Hub to help children with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) better navigate their way through mainstream school has opened in Greenwich, thanks to funding by FFT’s Effinity Charitable Foundation.

During June 2022, the Mayor of Greenwich Leo Fletcher opened a new Inclusion Hub at Fossdene Primary School, courtesy of funding and pro-bono project management by FFT.

Fossdene Primary School is a two form entry school in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The school has well above the national average of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) pupils, and pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. But it has a clear inclusion policy, ensuring all its pupils, regardless of their specific needs, are able to make the best possible progress in mainstream school.

Vital funding from a working partnership

FFT was made aware of the school’s desire to refurbish an old school keeper’s house on its premises to use as a special need’s facility. The project would command a large investment to transform the disused 1890s building, allowing for the creation of a wet room, a sensory playroom, workstations, a kitchenette, a meeting room and a classroom.

The facility would also be used to host parent workshops from specialist providers, allowing parents to better understand their children’s needs and how best to support them at home. The spaces would also provide a nurture provision for older pupils with Social Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) issues, providing them with a safe space to learn, engage with their feelings, and become more successful in school.

FFT Senior Partners agreed that the school’s vision for the inclusion hub matched those of our registered charity, the Effinity Charitable Foundation. So they agreed that FFT would arrange funding to come from the Effinity Charitable Foundation. We also approached Axis Group UK, who supported the initiative through a Travis Perkins Legacy Fund.

1890s building transformed into a safe space for children

As well as financial support, FFT took project lead, providing pro-bono professional and technical services, with Senior Consultant Jeff Timms taking the helm, assisted by one of our Apprentices Bradley Quick.

In conjunction with contractor LDR Plastering Services, works commenced in April 2022. The school keeper’s building dated back to the 1890s and had been unoccupied for several years, so there was a lot to do to ensure it was safe and habitable.

As well as installing wet room, boiler room and kitchenette services, including a new boiler, extensive plastering and decorative works were carried out to the entrance hall, stairwells, landing and upstairs rooms.

Works completed in May and was officially opened in June by the Mayor of Greenwich with FFT Equity partner Lee Maskell and apprentice Bradley Quick attended the opening, meeting Executive Head Teacher Maria Hill, together with some of the staff and pupils who were using the newly created inclusion hub.

Lee said, “The pupils were great and clearly benefiting from the new facility. They gave us a lovely card they’d made themselves with some thank you comments. It was great to see what was previously a long disused building now being put to such valuable use.”

The Inclusion Hub is set to reduce the number of high level behavioral incidents with ultimately less exclusions, and higher school-parent engagement. The local community as a whole will also benefit, especially when considering what inclusion is, and its importance for children’s futures.

Most importantly for the school with its vision for lifelong learning, the pupils will leave Fossdene as successful learners.

Executive Head Teacher Maria Hill concluded by saying, “I am sending my heartfelt thanks for the generous donation of time, thought and passion for change that went into the completion of the school keeper’s house at Fossdene into an inclusion hub for the school.

“The children and staff are touched that someone cares about them enough to help them. Thank you again on behalf of the Fossdene School community.”