School tackles paint job with help from Oxford Brookes rugby team.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

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Watlington Primary gained support from an unlikely source as 25 rugby players descended on the school to join its repainting efforts.

With the help of parents, teachers and Oxford Brookes Rugby Union club, the school saved thousands of pounds.

The project was given a huge lift by the involvement of the Oxford Brookes Rugby team...no one expected so many extra pairs of hands and so many helpful rugby boys. They were amazing and enabled us to complete the task in one go.

Yvonne Jackson, Headteacher of Watlington Primary

The school put out the call for community volunteers to aid with the paint job as a creative alternative to spending the school budget on labour costs. With parents and staff giving up their Saturday to paint the walkway that surrounds the school classrooms, they were buoyed by the arrival of the Oxford Brookes Rugby Union team.

Yvonne Jackson, Headteacher at the school, said: “Polly Wopshott, chair of our wonderfully supportive PTA, coordinated the painting project for our school. Creative approaches like this mean we are able to concentrate our ever decreasing budget on teaching and learning rather than maintenance and labour costs.

“The project was given a huge lift by the involvement of the Oxford Brookes Rugby team that appeared at the school gates ready to lend a hand. Their assistant coach is a parent and he encouraged the team to participate, but no one expected so many extra pairs of hands and so many helpful rugby boys. They were amazing and enabled us to complete the task in one go.

“We are very grateful to the Oxford Brookes team and they have made a huge difference to the children of Watlington and we can’t thank them enough. However, there are many more painting projects yet to come so perhaps we will see them again!”

The Oxford Brookes team had been considering ways to give back to the community, so when an assistant coach mentioned the project, they jumped at the chance. The visit was especially serendipitous given Yvonne Jackson herself studied at Oxford Brookes and used to play for the women’s team.

Joe Winpenny, Oxford Brookes Rugby Union Head Coach, said: “The lads have been the driving force behind this initiative. After the project was mentioned in passing, the boys just picked it up and ran with it. I couldn’t be prouder of the lads for the way that they conducted themselves in the lead up and on the day of the project, the represented the Club and the University really well."

Club Captain Angus Johnson and Club President Dougal Forsyth led the charge. While it isn’t normally easy organising 20 plus rugby players, they found that the team’s enthusiasm to help out the community made it one of the most enjoyable challenges the club has faced.

The team is excited to help with further community projects in the future.