Stunned by the generosity of the support from the local fuel distributor, Rob Blanchet, the school’s head teacher, commented: “Grindleton Primary School would like to give special thanks to Mr Chris Hewitt and OilMaxx for their generous donation to the school.”
Chris is used to helping people save money on fuel in his role as Business Development Manager at OilMaxx Preston Depot. Keeping homes across the Ribble Valley warm and cosy with kerosene, and powering and lubricating the wheels of agriculture in farms up and down the North West, and as a licensed AdBlue supplier, he has the business activities of construction, manufacturing and haulage covered across the UK, so no one ever runs out of fuel.
But recently, it’s not just stretched budgets forcing businesses to cut down; the cost-of-living crisis is affecting matters closer to home.
Chris explains: “I have two daughters at Grindleton Primary School, where they thrive. It’s an idyllic Church of England school with close links to St. Ambrose. The school receives limited government funding, as there are just under 40 children attending.
“I didn’t realise how bad the pressure was on the school finances until the headmaster sent parents a letter telling us they could no longer employ the school cook, Mrs Hargreaves, after 20 years of service.”
An impossible choice
“We can all look back fondly at our memories of the school dinner lady when we were kids,” Chris continues. “And I realised that Grindleton’s acting head teacher, Rob Blanchet, had had to make an impossible decision.
With inflationary increases impacting affordability, the school was losing approximately £3 per meal – which is not sustainable in the current economic crisis. As a result, the children now have hot meals wheeled in from neighbouring Bowland School which is not ideal, but reduces the cost so that the school can break even.
OilMaxx and its parent company OilFast have high corporate responsibility standards and significantly contribute to their employees and the communities they serve.
As Chris explains: “We do loads of sponsoring for football teams, and as a family-run company, they are always keen to hear about what matters to us. So, I asked if we could help my daughter’s school. When my boss said yes, I was so happy, and when I told the head teacher, he was quite emotional.”
Mr Blanchet will decide what to do with the donation of £1,500. In thanks, he said: “Grindleton Primary School would like to give special thanks to Mr Chris Hewitt and OilMaxx for their generous donation to the school.
“The donation is greatly appreciated and will help us to provide further enrichment opportunities for all the children in our school. Initially, this will be used to fund additional sports activities at school, and we know that all the children will enjoy and benefit from the increased opportunities this will provide.”
Some of the funds will go towards hosting its Sports Day on 19 June – an important school day for any parent and Chris adds: “I look forward to seeing the smiles on the children’s faces.”