STUDENTS at a New Addington primary school are getting access to some extra help to pursue their talents.
Rowdown Primary has started a foundation to help talented students reach their potential in their field, by paying for example for private tuition, equipment or getting to extra classes.
The Rowdown Inspire to Aspire Foundation's first beneficiary was Christopher Opuku, Year 4, who has been getting private piano lessons after his music teacher spotted his "natural" musical talent.
Chairman of Governors Gary Coy started the program last year to encourage the school's children and he hopes it will be long-lasting.
He said this week: "I suppose it comes from my upbringing and knowing that my parents had the time and money to support me, but lots of parents do not.
"It is also a focus that hopefully they will take into their teenage years while there are other nasty temptations surrounding them.
"If we don't have a real success story of someone going on to make a career out of it, it does not matter; it is about giving the kids confidence they can do something."
At present the program is mainly funded by Mr Coy himself through the pension of his late wife, Nicola Coy, who died from breast cancer in 2009.
He added: "She would want to do something with the money that was not about her
"We don't have kids of our own, and when she was at the Marsden having her treatment she would always look at the kids having treatment.
"The fact is I can find a great use for this money."
To be eligible for financial help from the foundation, the child needs to be referred by a teacher (perhaps prompted by a parent), and show above average talent in their field. Parents are advised to talk to their class teacher if they think their child would be a good candidate.
The Foundation's trustees will decide whether to approve the application and for how much. The money will normally go directly to the provider.
As well as Christopher, the Foundation is also supporting a pair of gymnast brothers, a promising dancer, a mathematician and a scientist.
Mr Coy says it will support a mixture of academic, sporty and artistic pursuits, but football will not be a priority as it is already relatively well provided for locally.
Mr Coy said he hopes the support can continue after the children have left Rowdown, in Calley Down Crescent, and to grow the program.
Rowdown is due to become an academy in June, sponsored by the estate's outstanding-rated Fairchildes primary.
The school is also starting the Rowdown School Awards, due to be held for the first time in July 2014, celebrating pupils' achievements. The awards will be sponsored by Shard Capital LLP, thanks to a former pupil who now works there.
For more information, talk to your Rowdown class teacher or visit www.rowdownfoundation.org.uk/how-it-works/