Stamford Hill special needs school looks to raise £720,000 by end of the week
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Stamford Hill special needs school looks to raise £720,000 by end of the week

Side-by-Side asks for help in raising funds for therapies, as generous backers vow to match donations 'pound for pound'

Brandon Lewis visited the Side by Side school in Stamford Hill, December 2018
Brandon Lewis visited the Side by Side school in Stamford Hill, December 2018

A special needs school for Orthodox Jewish children in London has launched a crowdfunding campaign to plug a funding shortfall, with donors promising to match supporters’ donations pound for pound.

Rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, Side-by-Side School in Stamford Hill caters for about 90 pupils with a wide range of complex needs, and is aiming to raise £720,000 by the end of this week.

By Wednesday afternoon the total raised had reached £42,000 in the space of just a few hours, as supporters were asked to help pay for various kinds of therapy, including occupational, music, physio and speech and language, plus computer and sensory equipment.

“The school benefits not only special children but helps alleviate some of the pressures and challenges facing the parents and other members of the family,” said supporter Michoel Posen from the Agudas Israel Housing Association.

He added that “every donation… will be matched pound for pound by generous donors to raise much-needed funds”.

The school is chaired by Jacob Sorotzkin, who owns several residential care homes in London and Manchester for the elderly and disabled. The annual fee for pupils is between £24,000 and £31,000.

Backers have pledged to match donations pound for pound

Last year, trustees reported that land had been acquired from Agudas Israel Housing Association and that Hackney Council had given planning permission for a newly-constructed school building. The school is currently renting a temporary site.

Calling for help, school leaders said they had to meet an “astronomical” annual budget of £2 million. “In the past, £1m of our budget has been covered by the Government, and generous benefactors from the wider community have stepped in to fund half of the remaining costs.

“As of this year, the Government has cut the funding towards the provision for our 16-19 year olds leaving us with an additional deficit of £220,000. We have launched this campaign, in lieu of our annual fundraising event, to raise the £720,000 shortfall needed for 2019.”

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