Community urged to get behind fundraiser

Head teacher Pauline Buchan with Parent Council members Simon Ruddy, Claire Cohan and Anouk Kloppert
Head teacher Pauline Buchan with Parent Council members Simon Ruddy, Claire Cohan and Anouk Kloppert

The Ellon Academy Parent Council has launched a fundraising campaign in a bid to purchase new snow clearing equipment for the town’s Community Campus.

The group decided to take action after they discovered that existing equipment used by school janitors during snow storms last year was unsuitable.

Parent Council members attempt to clear snow and ice at the campus

Parent Council members attempt to clear snow and ice at the campus

On a normal working day the school would have just two janitors, but during snowy days the team is increased to four.

Speaking to the Times Parent Council member Simon Ruddy explained: “In December last year there was a combination of snow and ice but no correct equipment to deal with it.

“Members of the Parent Council came out to help janitors clear the snow as they are so stretched in numbers, we don’t want to let that happen again.”

Ellon Academy head teacher Pauline Buchan said: “The current equipment was ok for the old school but this site is three times bigger.

“As this is a Community Campus a lot of people use the facilities here during the weekend too, we can have up to 700 people here on a Saturday morning.

“It is too much work for such a small janitorial team.”

After holding discussions with Pauline and a north east firm, the Parent Council settled on a plan to raise just over £8,000 to enable the purchase of three key pieces of equipment.

The group hope to buy an Arctic Cat 400 ATV, Arctic Snow Plough kit and an Everest Plus Towable Gritter.

The price of the items plus servicing for the next three years and delivery comes to a total of £8287.

Parent Council members hope that the money can be raised in enough time so that the items can arrive at the campus by the end of the year.

Pauline added: “We are hugely appreciative for the support of the Parent Council and hopefully the community.

“This will make a huge difference and it will be safer too as we don’t want any vehicle collisions or our pupils getting hurt as the ice can make it dangerous for pedestrians.”

Parent Council member and local councillor Anouk Kloppert said: “We had such unfortunate weather in December resulting in most unusual layers of ice compacting almost overnight in the Ellon area alone.

“It was incredibly tough to clear by any equipment let alone within the circumstances our Community campus had to function.

“I was really not happy for staff and children, including my own child, having to manoevre on the ice.

“Walking on the campus was very difficult, it was near impossible to walk the last few hundred metres from the bus after already walking with great difficulty in from town.

“Only a few janitors, as part of the team looking after several schools in the area, could be made available to try and clear our campus - a near impossible task.

“I really hope we will never be caught out again, and we will keep our staff and children safe during those cold winter months.”

Online donations can be made at www.gofundme.com/snow-clearing-equipment.

For more details or to make an offline donation email ellonacademyfundraising@gmail.com.