Norwich school's money-spinning car park scheme is line for award

Jon WelchA car park scheme that has raised thousands of pounds for a Norwich school will be showcased nationally this week after being nominated for a new award.Jon Welch

A car park scheme that has raised thousands of pounds for a Norwich school will be showcased nationally this week after being nominated for a new award.

Bignold Primary School and Nursery has turned its staff car park and playgrounds into a popular city centre shoppers' car park at weekends and during school holidays for more than 20 years.

The 150-space car park off Wessex Street raises money for school improvements and a range of good causes, even helping children as far afield as Africa.

Funds raised have helped create a new, welcoming school library and money has also gone towards major refurbishment of the school's kitchen and dining hall, so it can now create healthy dishes on the premises.

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It has also supported the school minibus, new playground equipment, a sensory garden and turning an old mobile classroom into a colourful 'magic room' for music and play.

The scheme was originally run through parent groups and manned by a team of volunteers, but in 2007 city-based national parking operator RCP Parking was called in to operate it on a professional basis.

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Now the company and the school have been shortlisted in the Parking in the Community category of the British Parking Awards 2010.

The newly-introduced award celebrates parking schemes that make a valuable impact on their local community.

Representatives from RCP and the school will attend the awards ceremony, hosted by TV impressionist Jon Culshaw at the Intercontinental Hotel in Park Lane, London, on Friday.

Patrick Larner, a governor and chairman of the school's site committee, said: 'Bignold is very fortunate to be so close to Norwich city centre and our car park has proved a remarkable success with shoppers and visitors.

'RCP Parking are exceptional partners - under their very slick, enthusiastic and professional stewardship, we have raised more money than ever for school funds and are absolutely delighted that our scheme is now in the finals of the British Parking Awards.'

Tony Wakeling, general manager of RCP Parking, said: 'It's wonderful that this excellent Norfolk partnership is being held up at national level as an example of how parking really can play a positive role in communities.'

Do you have a story about a school for the Evening News? Call reporter Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email

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