IN the wake of Government cuts, schools are turning to more creative means of finding funding. A village school just outside Pershore is hoping to take advantage of benefits that might not otherwise be readily available.

Cropthorne with Charlton C of E First School has teamed up with local law firm McCarthy Taylor to create its own charitable trust in a bid to boost funds.

Paul Taylor, managing director of McCarthy Taylor, is a former governor at the school and worked with governors, with support from the parent-teacher association and Worcestershirebased legal firm Harrison Clark, to create the Cropthorne with Charlton School Trust.

Both McCarthy Taylor and Harrison Clark provided their services free of charge to the school while the PTA donated £8,000 to set it in motion.

The school is state-funded, but parents and friends of the school have helped to provide things over the years to add to the children’s experiences, often through fund-raising led by the PTA.

The charitable trust provides a legal framework to hold funds raised on behalf of the children and also enhances the amounts raised with Gift Aid tax relief.

Headteacher Sally Martin said she felt obtaining trust status would mean a number of benefits for the school.

She said: “It’s there to boost fund-raising for schools to get some extras to enhance the curriculum.

These are the extra bits you can’t just do out of the budget.

It does mean that you can have the Gift Aid tax relief as well and there’s more of a possibility to apply for grants.

“[School budgets] are already very, very tight. There isn’t the money there for the extras and the way things are looking it’s going to get tighter.

“The trust has only been up and running for the last few months, so it’s early days. I do think it might be useful for schools when there are grants available not always through the direct route.”

Mr Taylor said: “With the trust, the school benefits more from donations. For example, if a gift of £10 is made by a basicrate taxpayer the trust reclaims £2.50 from HMRC and therefore, receives a total of £12.50. This increases our income by 25 per cent. If they are a 45 per cent tax payer, then the reclaim is £5.63.

“For companies, the relief is given as an expense in their accounts when they give to a registered charity, reducing their corporation tax by 20 per cent, 24 per cent or 25 per cent depending on the size of their profits.”

Mr Taylor, who also previously chaired the governors, is now one of the trustees and Mc- Carthy Taylor is providing free taxation, secretarial and logistical support while Harrison Clark provides legal advice.

Trustee Leanne Seal said raising funds through the trust would benefit all the children at the school.

She said: “With economic recession still upon us, funding restrictions continue so it is essential that we get maximum results for our efforts. Through achieving charity status, we will see greater rewards for our constant fund-raising efforts.

“We are very excited about achieving charity status and looking forward to the wider community getting involved and helping us to give the children in our community the best start in their academic career.”

Photo taken by Rhys Jones.