Grant Success: Meet the P&F Behind the Chilled Water Revolution at Rouse Hill Anglican College

Imagine scorching summer days and a long line of thirsty students waiting for a single water fountain. That was the reality at Rouse Hill Anglican College (RHAC) in Sydney. But not anymore!

P&F transforms RHAC’s hydration game

Today, we chat with Matt Perry from the RHAC P&F. He recounts how fellow P&F member Debbie spearheaded the project that transformed their school’s hydration game. This Q&A dives into their journey, focusing on the importance of accessibility, chilled water in the Sydney heat, and catering to large student populations. Get ready to hear how they went from slow-moving lines to a system that efficiently hydrates hundreds.

Students from Rouse Hill Anglican College, sipping refreshing water from an Aquafil Hydrobank School Drinking Trough.

Parental Passion Ignites Change: Student Health and Hydration

What prompted the decision to enhance the drinking water facilities at your school?

Rouse Hill Anglican College (RHAC) Parents & Friends Association (P&F) were the key drivers of this initiative at RHAC in Rouse Hill, Sydney.

As a P&F Association, we were looking for a solution that could benefit the entire college community (junior and senior school). In recent years, we’ve had some building works that have delivered better “bubblers” than before, but we still saw this as an opportunity to really make a change in this space. Health was a key driver to making sure kids were better hydrated around sporting facilities, playgrounds, etc. and we landed on water fountains as a project.

The project was funded 3 ways. Through the grant, the P&F and the balance picked up by the college. I believe this collaborative effort helped us win the grant.” – Matt Perry, P&F Member.

Family Affair: Building a School, Building a Dream

We approached our local MP and found out about the Smarty Grants, and so we looked to our own ability to fund some of the project and the grants available, and so we planned a partnership with the college, our smarty grants, and the P&F funding to install 3 water stations in areas of need around the college.

One of our P&F Members, Debbie, took charge of this project and did all the groundwork and really helped bring this to life… filling out the grants application, working with the college business manager, and our grounds team to identify areas for installation.

We also roped in college families for skilled trades to help with plumbing, power, and concreting the slabs for future success. It really was a ‘family affair’ and a whole of school commitment

Students in Rouse Hill Anglican College uniforms, refilling their reusable water bottles at an Aquafil Hydrobank School Drinking Trough decorated with vibrant artwork, promoting campus hydration and sustainability initiatives

Strategic Placement: Focus on Key Areas for Maximum Impact

Could you paint a picture of the changes you’ve witnessed in the school environment?

We installed 2 large multi-bank chilled stations and one standalone water station; one went up on the college oval where there were no drink stations available, another by our auditorium benefiting the senior school with chilled water, and the standalone in our high traffic junior school area. The quality of the filtered water, the chilled nature of the multi-bank stations, and the engagement with the kids has been incredible.

It’s great seeing students refilling water bottles throughout the day with chilled water, and in particular during sporting events up on our oval, having so many people able to access chilled water in such a critical area. This has been really exciting for us.

A student at Rouse Hill Anglican College, refilling her reusable water bottle at an Aquafil Hydrobank School Drinking Trough adorned with vibrant artwork, supporting hydration and sustainability initiatives at the campus.

Cool Hydration, Happy Students: The Positive Impact

We’d love to hear the story behind choosing the specific drinking water station for your school.

There were two really important factors once we’d landed on water stations… The first was accessibility to large volumes of kids, the second was the ability to get chilled water. Being in Northwestern Sydney, we deal with extreme heats during summer, and this has been a real game changer when it comes to having cold water available in key areas of the college.

We were conscious of having an initiative that really helped to deliver healthy benefits to our college community, as far and wide as possible. Having 3 stations installed across the college, in high-traffic areas, has really made a significant difference, and there are many events where we’ve seen 5-6 people at a station at once, with 5–6 deep behind each of them… Moving through high volumes of kids, very quickly was a goal of ours initially, particularly with the multi-bank stations.

A student at Rouse Hill Anglican College, Grant winner P&F, refilling her water bottle at an Aquafil Hydrobank School Drinking Trough

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Recognising the Contributions of All

It was important for us to understand the whole end-to-end costs, being a non-profit arm of the college through the P&F, we have limited funds and with so many moving parts, a fixed quote was critical, as well as understanding the capability of the college and parents to support in delivering these stations in a swift manner, but as cost-effective as possible.

The team at Civiq were instrumental in working with Debbie on getting the best solutions for us, within the budget whilst meeting the needs of our ever-growing college. From the time we committed to the stations, to it moving through approval stages, design, etc. was not overly long (the majority of hold-up happened within the grant process and processes in getting relevant approvals within the college); this is always something to consider when embarking on such a fun initiative.

Students at Rouse Hill Anglican College, a Grant winner P&F, happily drinking from an Aquafil Hydrobank School Drinking Trough.

More Than Water: The Unexpected Benefits

Having the stations installed over the Christmas break and ready for use in the New Year was a wonderful feat and so exciting to see so many people in the college getting such great use out of this initiative, every-single-day! Often something as simple as water is easily overlooked. With the growing number of kids bringing refillable bottles to school and not filling them up again because a station isn’t readily available feels criminal. The new water stations have made such a big difference to seeing more people accessing water more often.

A side benefit which we didn’t really consider as important when we were going through the process, but has been of great benefit, was the ability to put decals and marketing materials on the stations to give them a branding effective within the college colours and themes. This has helped the water stations to really ‘fit-in’ with the aesthetics of the college here at RHAC

We’re incredibly thankful for the team at Civiq and the support and guidance we were provided along the way on this initiative, and look forward to working with them again as the college grows.

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