If I told you that you could boost your setting’s budget for resources, at no extra cost to you, I imagine you’d be (understandably) sceptical. But that’s exactly what My School Fund by ESPO promises.
When participating individuals (parents, grandparents, staff, or carers) shop at Argos or Sainsbury’s and pay using their linked credit or debit card, they earn cashback for your setting, in the form of e-gift cards. It doesn’t cost the settings or the parents any extra, and they even get a percentage of cashback too.
So how on earth does it work? I met with Helen Swann, ESPO’s Head of Business Development, and Yasmin Hughes, their Marketing and Communications Manager, to find out.
ESPO set up My School Fund in November 2020, because the team could see that parents and education settings were struggling. The strain of budgeting through Covid 19 (and now the cost of living crisis) meant parents and schools were worse off - their money just didn’t go as far as it used to. So Helen, Yasmin, and their colleagues stepped up to help.
“My School Fund is a game-changer for nurseries, giving a much-needed boost to funds and helping budgets to stretch further,” says Yasmin, “At a time when the cost of living is increasing it can also help to ease the financial strain for individuals, it really is a win-win.”
With some joined-up thinking, and help from supermarket giant Sainsbury’s, My School Fund was born.
There are no hidden costs to settings and it’s completely free for parents, educators, support staff, and carers to earn cashback on their weekly shop. 1% goes to their chosen setting (a school or nursery) and 2% goes to the shopper themselves, in the form of vouchers to spend at Argos or Sainsbury’s.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” explains Helen, “Settings earn some extra cash and the linked card-holders get some money back too.”
Since the scheme has been extended to nurseries, there are now over 11,000 individuals and 1,500 schools, nurseries, and pre-schools registered. This has generated over £250,000 in cashback rewards distributed so far to schools, nurseries, and individuals, with almost £100,000 for participating settings alone.
“We are thrilled to have given away almost £100k in rewards to schools and nurseries so far,” says Helen, “We are delighted to be able to support local communities while extending a helping hand to nurseries too.“
And they’re not done yet. Helen and Yasmin say ESPO are looking to add even more retailers to the scheme, so settings can have an even greater choice of where to earn and spend.
To start earning your cashback vouchers, here’s what you need to do:
The key to building up your cashback is getting as many parents, carers and staff involved as possible. Here are Yasmin and Helen’s top tips for doing just that:
To find out more about My School Fund and how it works, you can visit ESPO’s website. And, as a special thank you from Helen, Yasmin, and the ESPO team, you can also receive 10% off an order from Eduzone, when you use the exclusive Eduzone discount code: FAMLY10 (1 use per customer).
Please note: here at Famly we love sharing creative activities for you to try with the children at your setting, but you know them best. Take the time to consider adaptions you might need to make so these activities are accessible and developmentally appropriate for the children you work with. Just as you ordinarily would, conduct risk assessments for your children and your setting before undertaking new activities, and ensure you and your staff are following your own health and safety guidelines.