St Joseph’s NS, Midfield, Swinford, has launched a fundraising appeal to build a School Hall. The pupils of Midfield have made a heart-warming video appeal calling for people to answer their fundraising call, which is linked to a GoFund Me page on Facebook.
The school is a small four-teacher school with just under seventy pupils. Whilst its enrolment numbers have held steady for the last several years, the school is not eligible for Government funding to build a hall as funding is only being made available for the addition of new classrooms for rising pupil numbers.
The school obtained planning permission for the erection of a hall in 2012, which was further extended but it is due to expire at the end of this year.
However, Principal Jackie O’Rourke is firm in her belief that the school needs a hall: "The Pandemic brought the need for a hall to our minds as a priority. Up to this point we have been making do. When it is wet, windy or frosty the children cannot go outside. This means they have to stay in their classrooms and their physical activity is limited. Why should our children just have to make do? Why should we be accepting less than the best for our children? Midfield NS are the only school in the area that doesn’t have a General Purpose Hall".
O’Rourke also notes that many of the similar smaller schools in the area have DEIS status, which means more money is made available to them. Some local schools recently achieved DEIS status and whilst O’Rourke has flagged DEIS applicability with local and national representatives on behalf of the school, the awarding of DEIS status is based on previous census results and socio-economic demographics.
She added that based on the last census, according to the criteria, Midfield does not seem to qualify. Due to a lack of availability of Government funding the school has no choice but to fundraise.
O’Rourke said: "Since the granting of the planning permission in 2012, the school has sought to obtain funding but to no avail. That’s a whole generation of Midfield children since 2012 who have passed through our school and have been disadvantaged. We don’t want the next generation to be disadvantaged too."
A fundraising committee has been established by the parents in order to raise the necessary funds to build the hall. They intend to run a series of events over the next year to try to raise a target amount of €200,000.
If you would like to donate to their cause you can find their page on www.gofundme.com/f/midfield-ns-hall-fundraiser