The Belong Community Project is pleased to announce that St John’s C of E Primary School has welcomed the opportunity to host Belong, which would operate as a designated and restricted budget within the School’s governance and budgeting. Further background information outlining some of the reasons why it is both a natural and positive step forward for St John’s to host Belong is below:
“St John’s C of E Primary School has charitable status as part of The Good Shepherd Trust. For the past twelve years St John’s has hosted and provided office/meeting space for the Links Partnership Community Development Work. As a School, we share and purposefully live out the values of the Belong project. We are passionately committed to supporting our local Dorking children, young people and their families. We have a proven track record of effective partnership working which is cross-sector. The Belong project will enable us to further extend our current provision which is in addition to any statutory curriculum obligation that we have. The Belong Committee will have accountability to our Senior Leadership Team and Governing Body, Chaired by Councillor David Draper.
As a School we already host and provide additional support for children and their families and this support is above and beyond any compulsory, statutory obligation. We employ a Community Links Team who are tasked to identify gaps in local provision and to seek funding in order for us to help fill these gaps. An example of the success of this is recent funding of £10,000.00 which we secured to provide a Play Therapist to work with the parents and carers of significantly disadvantaged children. As a School, we fund a breakfast, after school club and holiday scheme which already welcomes children and young people from the Dorking and surrounding village areas. We also part fund a Home School Link Worker to work with local families. We provide school facilities free of charge for holiday provision for children and young people, supporting organisations such as Jolly John’s Play Farm. We are dedicated to providing learning opportunities for young people and adults in the local area, often hosting courses in parenting, child development and IT skills as well as providing drop in space for young people and adults to access support in employment and benefits advice. We work closely with the Dorking Children’s Centre pooling local resources to ensure that children, young people and their families benefit from local partnership. We provide free pool space for the Children’s Centre supporting families who have children with special needs to swim together. In the last 4 months we have funded women only swimming sessions, extending the initial Local People Dorking pilot fund. This project has welcomed many from the Dorking area who have no natural relationship with St John’s.
Wherever there is identified need in the Dorking area, we will both endorse and support the Belong Community Project to help meet those needs”.