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Banbury Schools firmly plant the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign

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Banbury Schools firmly plant the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign

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Published by Sophie Willett for Sanctuary Housing Association in Communities and also in Health, Housing

Sibford School student, Libby Griffin Sibford School student, Libby Griffin

Youngsters from nine schools in Banbury have come together to sing in a string of Crocus Concerts and help raise £9,750 for the ‘End Polio Now’ campaign.

Over 340 secondary school pupils gelled together in a trio of tuneful concerts which were organised by Banbury Rotary Club and supported with a £1,000 donation from Sanctuary Housing’s Grand Ideas Fund.

As the official flower for polio eradication over 5,000 crocus bulbs were planted, three choir concerts were hosted, and more than 700 residents attended, all in a bid to support the global campaign in ridding the world of polio by 2018.

International musicians Jonathan French and Helen Swift conducted the musical filled evenings for local residents to enjoy. From ticket sales and donations, the charity received £3,250 and the money raised will be trebled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – an organisation supporting initiatives in education, world health and community.

Boys and girls from local schools, aged 11 to 18 years of age, volunteered in their masses to help make the crocus themed concert a great success. Schools included Banbury Academy, Chenderit School, The Warriner School, Sibford School, Blessed George Napier Catholic School, Bloxham School, Frank Wise School, North Oxfordshire Academy and Tudor Hall School.

Rotary’s crocus campaign, launched in 1979, plays a pivotal role in conquering polio. The aim of the campaign is for all pupils who started secondary school in September 2013 to live in a polio-free world by the time they sit their GCSE’s. To date, the global club has raised over $200 million for the cause, and the number of polio-endemic countries has now dropped to three – lowest of all time.

Fred Riches, member from Banbury Rotary Club, said: “The Crocus Concerts were a fantastic way to raise money for our polio campaign and having all nine schools agree to participate made it a real success as it attracted friends, families and neighbours for all the children involved.

“Thanks to Sanctuary’s donation we were able to donate all money raised from ticket sales to this campaign that is so close to our hearts. The aim of conquering polio is becoming more realistic the more money we raise globally and we thank everyone involved for their support.”

Harj Lota, Sanctuary’s head of local partnerships, added: “What a remarkable cause and it’s marvellous to see how our £1,000 donation can make such a difference on a global scale.”

Banbury Rotary Club is one of many community groups across England to benefit from Sanctuary’s Grand Ideas Fund.  Now in its third year, the fund offers up to £1,000 to groups that need financial support to help deliver activities within their local community for the benefit of local residents.

The Grand Ideas Fund is open for applications from charities, resident groups and voluntary organisations.

For details on how to apply, please contact the Sanctuary Housing Community Investment team on 01905 335 441 oremailcommunity@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

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