The pandemic has touched all parts of our community and whilst there has been significant government support to assist with the impact, one of our responsibilities as district councillors it to be alert to particular areas of need that might have been missed across the parishes of our Ward.
From the moment Cllr Kerry Haines picked-up an email appeal on a busy Monday morning, to when the Chief Executive of SDDC formally confirmed that a grant was to be made available, it was clear in all of our minds that Dame Catherine Harpur’s School (DCHS) is no ordinary school. It is very much an integral part of the Ticknall village community, whether for the 40 children who attend, the 6 members of staff or their amazing Art Show.
DCHS is a small, independent, parent-run, community school and nursery. There has been a primary school for centuries in Ticknall and being independent, it has to rely on charitable community fund-raising events for a significant part of its income. Foremost amongst these is the popular annual Art Show, a huge event drawing exhibitors from across the country over three days. However, through no fault of their own, the first lockdown forced the show’s cancellation and without the annual injection of funds, the school was three weeks from closure. Not only would it have been desperately sad if it had had to cease operating, with the disruption and upset to the children and loss of jobs, but it would have increased pressure on other local schools just at a time when they, too, were under extreme stress.
Fortunately, working together with the Parish Council and County Councillor Linda Chilton, Cllrs Andrew Churchill and Kerry Haines were able to secure emergency support in the form of a substantial grant from SDDC in a matter of days.
“The other governors and I are extremely grateful for your support and understanding of the issues and your very timely advocacy and efforts on behalf of the school… Your appreciation of the contribution of the School to our local community, and beyond, and your energy and timely support means that we are now looking forward to a very different, and very active, summer half term and then beyond to the future” one of the DCHS governors wrote in thanks.