Essex primary school to cut emissions by 90% after 'flagship' community project raises £250,000

A primary school will be able to cut its carbon emissions by 90% after it met a £250,000 fundraising target.

Tollesbury Primary School, in Essex, managed to secure the money via a pioneering community share scheme which attracted investment from local individuals and businesses.

After successfully reaching its target, the school will now also be able to unlock an additional £414,000 decarbonisation grant from the government.

The school is planning to use the cash to bring its ageing Victorian building into the 21st century, by upgrading the energy and heating system.

Work is due to begin on the first phase of the improvements by the end of the summer holidays, which will include replacing windows and installing loft insulation.

The school's Victorian building is starting to show its age. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The school estimates it will initially make a £14,000 annual saving on its energy bills, with that figure expected to rise to £38,000 a year after a decade.

"Most schools are in a deficit budget, have got very little in the bank, and are making redundancies," headteacher Kate Garnett told ITV News Anglia.

"You have think twice about supply cover because you can't afford it, and to have any money coming back into your budget is a real bonus."

The fundraising initiative was launched by local group, The Tollesbury Climate Partnership, which is aiming to make the village near Maldon more sustainable.

Investors contributed between £100 and £20,000 and it's believed that the project is the first of its kind in the UK.

The partnership believes all investors will end up making a profit when they get their money back in 10 years time.

The school hosted a special assembly to announce that the fundraising target has been met. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We were really keen to start a real flagship project within the community," said Mark Howland from The Tollesbury Climate Partnership.

"The school is at the real heart of the village so it seemed a really obvious project to start with, and it's ripe for decarbonisation. 

"It has an oil boiler and extremely high heating bills which are eating up a large portion of the school budget, so we could come in and help save the school a lot of money, as well as reducing its carbon footprint."

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