Community project to cut school's emissions by 90%
A primary school is hopeful of cutting its carbon emissions by 90% if a £200,000 fundraising target is met.
Tollesbury Primary School plans to use the money to upgrade the energy and heating system of its Victorian building.
Local group The Tollesbury Climate Partnership launched a community share offer to raise the money and has reached about three quarters of the total.
Mark Howland, director of the partnership, said: "It will make a significant difference to the school."
The project has until 1 May to raise the money which will then allow it to access a £414,000 decarbonisation grant from the government.
The partnership said individuals and businesses had invested between £100 and £20,000 and believes it is the first initiative its kind.
Investors should get their money back and a profit in ten years, the partnership hopes.
It aims to provide the school with double glazing, solar panels, a ground source heat pump, insulation and energy saving lightbulbs.
As well as reducing the carbon emissions, it could save the school £14,000 a year.
Mr Howland said it was the "showcase project" for the partnership.
"Tollesbury is a really strong community and obviously we're keen to make this village sustainable for the future.
"We are conscious of the climate crisis that is happening around us and we all feel that we need to do what we can to support the future for all of the residents of the village."
He said the work would mean the school building, which dates from 1896, would be "much more sustainable and usable for the future".
The project was "extremely optimistic" the money will be raised by the deadline, he added.
Kate Garnett, head teacher at the school, said: "Energy costs have almost doubled this year, so to find that money in a budget that's already very tight is very difficult."
She said the project would help the school's finances, the environment and the pupils' education.
"The children can get to see what they're learning about in the curriculum actually come to life and it's happening in front of their eyes," she said.
Ms Garnett also said the children would be "taking the messages home [of] what is happening to the school".
"We hope that will then ripple and parents will also think 'if it could happen to a 100-year-old school, we can do it at home', so hopefully it will have an impact throughout the whole community," she said.
Haydn, a year 6 pupil at the school said: "It's a really nice idea and we're doing this to save the planet."
The 10-year-old said: "It’s a nice thing to be helping with the planet and being a more energy efficient school.
"It's nice to have a warm school and have these new things happening to our school."