By Heather Park

MANAGING YOUR PTA – Boosting support

Grandparents are

Reach out to grandparents to up the manpower on your PTFA


f there’s one thing a PTFA can never have enough of, it’s volunteers – but when your appeal to parents has failed to drum up support, where

else can you turn? Grandparents! With more and more grandparents helping out with childcare, it’s a natural transition for them to become involved in the school community –  many are already on your playground! While senior supporters potentially

have more time to contribute than your parents, they aren’t just an extra pair of helping hands. With a lifetime of experience, they may well have skills and expertise to bring to your committee, whether it’s a retired accountant who would make a perfect Treasurer, or an ex-designer ready to help with your next marketing campaign.

Grandparents will have established

networks of local friends, so opening the committee up to a whole new generation is a fantastic way to boost support, gaining not just PTFA members, but event attendees too. Whatever role they play, inviting

grandparents to actively participate in the PTFA gives them the opportunity to share their time and talents in a way  the stereotypes of grandparents being old and frail – they probably have more energy than you or me! And, as these testimonials show, they’re eager to get stuck in!

Cheryl Green, Chair (66)

‘I joined the PTFA at my granddaughter’s school in 2015. I’d originally gone to the meeting with my husband after persuading him to take on the role of Treasurer, but having handled an awkward moment of friction between two committee members, the outgoing Chair nominated me for her role and I was voted in! In my time as Chair we’ve held all

sorts of events, including car boot sales, cinema evenings, discos and Christmas and summer fairs. One of our more unusual events is a classic car show, which we hold alongside our summer fair. This helps us open up our school and fundraising efforts to the wider community. Our proudest contribution is the

PTA vs PTFA Check your constitution

to verify whether your membership includes

grandparents (this is usually the case if you are a PTFA/Friends Association). Only members can hold elected roles on the committee.

refurbishing of the playground and woodland areas. The equipment was rotting, and areas were taped off because they were unsafe. I secured a £10,000 grant from Tesco Bags of Help, and the PTFA raised a further £8,000. The area was installed with the help of mums and dads doing the manual labour over several weekends. Getting involved with the PTFA not only keeps the old grey matter functioning, but it keeps me active! There are lots of grandparents out there who have retired and don’t have anything to focus on, but still have transferable skills learned in their careers that could really benefi t a PTFA. For example, thanks to my former job as a PA I can write letters appealing for donations or volunteers, which is important because you need to get the tone right and be persuasive. Parents are often busy with their children, but grandparents can be an absolutely godsend to a school. My husband is a key member of the committee as Treasurer. PTFAs aren’t just about now. You’re not just improving the school for your grandchild – it’s for the next generation, and the one after that. Our school was built in 1972, so there’s a lot that needs replacing and a lot of work to be done. I love my granddaughter, and I love being able to help her, the rest of the children and the school.’ Cheryl Green, PTFA Chair, Lime Walk Primary School, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire (220 pupils) SUMMER 2018 23


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