Staff and students from across the Foundation act to help others during the coronavirus crisis
Students of all ages and staff from across Stephen Perse schools rapidly responded to national and local need across Cambridge and Saffron Walden as the crisis resulting from the Coronavirus became evident. They have been helping by raising money for key charities, demonstrating skills in making equipment and completing unusual challenges to inspire others. It is marvellous to see our core values that encourage students to become independent thinkers with a moral purpose and an understanding of social responsibility and community engagement are being put into practice in lockdown. Here is a selection of some of the activities and projects that have taken place in recent weeks. We are so very proud of our school community.
Over 3,000 items of PPE have been made by staff at schools across the Stephen Perse Foundation for use by front-line workers. Back at the beginning of April after schools’ closures came into force Natasha Hammond, Design Engineering teacher at Stephen Perse, was inspired to help local GP practitioners and other workers on the front line. Natasha started using the 3D printer in school along with her specialist knowledge to make visors. Her first goal was to make 100 visors by the end of the week using existing school supplies. And now, many weeks later into the new school term, supported by other staff members from Stephen Perse and with donations for supplies, Natasha has achieved the manufacture of over 2,000 units. The visors have been delivered all over the Cambridge area to many people on the front-line including Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Dimensions UK Cambridge, Arthur Rank Hospice Cambridge and a care home in Waterbeach.
In a similar initiative, Caty Wynne-Powell, Head of Creative and Design Engineering at Dame Bradbury’s, has been using 'Elvis', the name given to Dame Bradbury's 3D printer, at home so that she could support key workers by making PPE. Joining a local group of like-minded people, Caty set to work. She embraced new coding skills so that she was able to print visors. Then, aided by women in her village who cut and hole-punched the visors, Caty checked for quality control. The items have since been delivered to care services including Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Hertfordshire Children’s Services, SASH, St Christopher’s Hospice and many local surgeries and care homes.
One of our staff members, Melissa Santiago-Val, currently furloughed, has been busy working in her local community to make face masks for people on public transport and for wider general use as well as raising funds for NHS Charities Together. To date Melissa and her team have raised £13,000 for NHS Charities Together and made 2,300 masks using hundreds of metres of fabric and muslin. This momentous achievement is through the recruitment of a network of 40 volunteers all helping to donate fabric, wash, dry, iron, cut to pattern and sew the masks, Melissa has galvanised local talent and generated enthusiasm, co-ordinating the whole process remotely from her kitchen at home. She has also sourced funding for the costs of materials including elastic and muslin.
Students too have been using their initiative to help raise funds for a range of causes and charities. Year 5 pupil Imogen mounted a challenge to complete 7.1 million keepie-uppies (the skill of juggling with a football using feet, lower legs, knees, chest, shoulders, and head, without allowing the ball to hit the ground) and she has raised over £7,000 along the way. The aim was to complete one keepie-uppie for every key worker in the UK and to donate any funds raised to nine key worker charities, while still completing her usual summer school timetable online. Inspired by Captain Tom Moore who raised £40million for the NHS by doing laps of his garden before his 100th birthday Imogen has gathered support from far and wide. Fellow pupils, teachers including Head of Rosedale House Mr Hewlett, members of the local Police Force, football teams including AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Cambridge United FC (where Imogen trains in their Youth Development Academy) and the famous England football team member Lioness Lucy Bronze, have all added their support and encouragement so that Imogen has now amassed over 1 million keepie-uppies and she is still going. The following nine charities will benefit from monies raised; Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust, NHS Charities Together, The Care Workers’ Fund Charity, SSAFA, Education Support, Police Care UK, The Fire Fighters Charity, East Anglian Air Ambulance and Mind.
Iona in 3K at Rosedale House decided that gifting no longer needed items from her home may raise funds, as well as thinking positively about sustainability and recycling. She succeeded in raising £384 in donations for the NHS.
Pupils from Dame Bradbury’s wore their school uniforms at home for online learning, joining others across the country to support the NHS CharitiesTogether fundraising initiative on 1 May #uniformsforuniform day.
Year 5 pupils at Rosedale House demonstrated their understanding of volunteering and what it meant to them by writing letters to those in need while isolated by Covid19.
Fleur in Year 8 produced this stunning artwork to thank the NHS and to stimulate donations.
The PTA Fun Run was cancelled in recent weeks so Head of Dame Bradbury’s Mrs Graham completed a 5km run instead and encouraged others to do the same and to keep fit during lockdown.
Heidi Hall, Charitable Foundation Director at Stephen Perse who helped deliver visors made by staff to front-line workers in need said: “Acts of kindness and genuine altruism like this at Stephen Perse and across the community have inspired us all in this time of uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our founder Stephen Perse (1548-1615) believed that education should be a right rather than a privilege, accessible to those with ability rather than dependent on income. He gave money for land to establish a free school and this ethos of philanthropy lives on 400 years later in staff and students.”
Heidi continued: “Harnessing the basic desire to help others in our community is at the heart of the Stephen Perse Charitable Foundation Office. It is heartening to see so many staff and students genuinely helping others. This has been my best experience of lockdown, to give Natasha’s visors to those on the front-line, during this crisis.”
Finally, can you help – do you have a musical instrument at home that you no longer use? Part of our partnership with North Cambridge Academy (NCA) is to help with resources where we can. Students there are in great need of musical instruments for music lessons and to help form a school orchestra. If you can help please contact: Alison Taylor, the Chair of Governors at Alison.firstname.lastname@example.org
With best wishes
Charitable Foundation Director, Stephen Perse Foundation