“HELP us fill our new building” is the plea from a Poole special school urging the community to get behind its £500,000 fundraising campaign for vital equipment.

‘Outstanding’ Montacute Special School, for children with severe, profound or multiple learning difficulties, is set to move out of its dilapidated setting into a brand new building under construction in its Canford Heath grounds.

But the £5m government funding for the project provides just the basic shell and falls short of equipping the building – even with essential kit, like hoists for the most immobile children.

The fundraising target to fill the school and outside space was £500,000. Seven months in, an amazing £240,000 has been raised from trusts and individuals – leaving £260,000 to find before the school opens in September 2015.

Fundraiser Vicki Edwards, who is spearheading Monty’s Appeal, said: “The pressure is really on.

“We are now appealing to the general public, companies and individuals to really get behind this amazing school and help us deliver everything these children need and deserve.

“We have unfortunately had to find at least £200,000 for essential items such as hoists, IT provision and emergency evacuation equipment. Sadly that has diverted money from those things which would really add to the children’s lives such as sensory rooms, soft play and outside play equipment. These are the things which can help these children develop and achieve their full learning potential.

“Any money raised will have a huge impact on the school staff and students and go directly towards funding this vital equipment.

“We have waited 15 years for a new building – now we just need some help to fill it.”

Head teacher Jill Owen, above, added: “If we can reach ‘Outstanding’ with an old leaky building and dilapidated equipment, just imagine what we could do if the children could have modern equipment, absorbing and calming sensory play, and a beautiful safe outside area.”

If you can help get in touch with Vicki Edwards on vicki.edwards@montacute.poole.sch.uk.


Preparing pupils for life

Montacute Special School caters for 75 pupils, aged from two to 19, with a wide range of physical, emotional and medical needs.

Having lost out on a £10million total rebuild when the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme was axed in 2010, it was in such dire need it went on to receive funds under the Priority School Building Programme – but only half as much.

The funding gap has left it with a long wish list to fulfil to ensure the school is properly ready, including £120,000 for outdoor play equipment, £5,000 for the music room, £10,000 for sports equipment and £30,000 for outside landscaping including forest musical and sensory trail.

A £40,000 sensory room and £4,000 mobile sensory equipment has already been funded with money pledged.

In addition school wants to raise up to £30,000 to create a life skills room, essentially equipped like a normal flat to prepare older children for the type of supported living environment they may find themselves after they leave the school.