"At the time of writing in Michaelmas term, Birkenhead School has been a charitable agent for over £11,000 in money and over a tonne of food, gifts, toys, parcels and the like. We have moved like an army on a mission to bring about change. We have worked together, generously and lovingly. In this COVID year, this School has displayed such community care in an inspirational way. Thank you all for your efforts" - Father Mark
During the Michaelmas term, Birkenhead School has supported a number of charities both at home and abroad.
In early October, Mrs Hadley and the Psychology students supported and fundraised for the #HelloYellow campaign. Students were asked to wear yellow accessories and donate £2; well done to the Sixth Formers for raising nearly £285 for this great cause.
Prep pupils, Gene and Miles Coleman knitted and sold pumpkins for our School charity; they raised £120. Then in December they came back with 'snowpeople', all knitted by their Nan. This time they managed to raise £146, which is outstanding!
Number Seven Café in Birkenhead looks to support local individuals and families by providing food and other items at reduced cost. We have started a close partnership with Number Seven Café, to whom we donate half our annual Harvest collection. This year Andy and the team collected nearly half a tonne of food items. This was kindly donated by children and students from across the School from Nursery to Sixth Form.
As a School we sold and collected for the National Poppy Collection in November. The figure we raised is still to be confirmed, but we are confident that as in previous years it is a healthy sum. Money raised has been further supported by Isaac Dufton who sold knitted poppies and raised £150 for Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.
Children in Need
In November, Children in Prep once again enjoyed Children in Need day and came into School in their own clothes in return for a £2 donation. In total, £725.50 was donated to the national charity, which will directly benefit children via local and national charities.
In the lead up to Christmas, the School ran a number of charity initiatives:
Neo Community & Number Seven Café in Birkenhead
In early December, each tutor group in Seniors was given a Christmas tree and asked to donate money that would go towards decorations and two national charities, Save the Children and Claire House, each receiving in excess of £500. As part of this thirty trees adorned the School grounds, on display by Overdale, Languages, McAllester and Sixth Form. On the last day of term these trees were donated to local families in need via Neo Community, along with a ‘Bag for Christmas’ which contained decorations, food and other items for the families to enjoy.
As part of the community hamper bags, we kindly received £100 worth of selection boxes from Mrs Rachel Gidman and £200 cash to purchase products from Wirral Family Court.
'The Click and Collect Campaign' asked members of the School community to donate food items. On Saturday 12th December, Father Mark, School Chaplain and a team of Sixth Form students headed out in the School minibus to collect the items directly from people's houses.
Local businesses contributed to the campaign and we are grateful to Muffs of Bromborough and The Mouse in Brimstage, as well as individuals who also donated money to purchase food items.
The food was shared with Number Seven Café in Birkenhead and Neo Community for local families in Need. The School further supported the charity by making a financial donation to each charity to help purchase additional food.
Ema from Neo Community commented, “This year, more importantly than any other year, the help from Father Mark, the School and the staff pulling all of this together is absolutely amazing. With over 12,000 children across Wirral on free school meals already needing this support, and working families not meeting the criteria for other statutory support - being able to have that extra help provided from the School and from others coming together is more important than ever. More than anything, 2020 has taught us that together we’re all stronger.”
Andrew from Number Seven says, “Birkenhead School has really has helped us this year and it’s so important. It’s been a massively hard year for everybody and the help that the School has given has helped us reach so many more people and they really do appreciate it. On behalf of our members I would like to thank you. You have been amazing – we couldn’t do these things without the support of yourselves and others within the community – thank you so, so much.”
Koala North West
Nursery and Pre-Prep families surpassed themselves yet again with their kind and generous donations to help local families in conjunction with Birkenhead charity, Koala North West.
Families were asked to select a gift tag from one of the trees located outside Nursery and Pre-Prep which offered information about the recipent of the gift. The Early Years department (Nursery and Pre-Prep) has been supporting the charity, which was formerly known as Home Start Wirral, for a number of years and once again we have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our parents at this time of year.
On Monday 15th December, members of the Koala North West team called into Nursery to collect the presents. Alison from Koala North West says, “We want to say a big thank you to all the families in Birkenhead School Early Years, you have surpassed our expectations and you will never know how much of a difference you truly make to the families – when their eyes light up as they realise that they can give their children a Christmas it is an amazing thing to see. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts.”
Sharon, who works in the Under 2s room, and who is instrumental in organising the donations each year, commented, “I would like to say a big thank you all of our parents at the School, especially in Early Years, for all of their generous gifts, the food, presents and vouchers. We don’t know the families ourselves but we know that they are very grateful, as are we, for everyone’s generosity and kindness in helping to share the Christmas spirit at this time of year.’
Charles Thompson Mission
In Birkenhead, Prep families and Sixth Form students looked to support the Charles Thompson Mission at Christmas time. Families in Prep were asked to donate food to help make up hampers for local families along with toys that could be distributed to children in the Birkenhead area.
In the Sixth Form, students chose to support the homeless via the charity. Students collected toiletries and other items to make up washbags for those in need. On Thursday 17th December, sixth form students, Rachel and Lexi, who had helped co-ordinate the collection, visited The Charles Thompson Mission with Father Mark to donate the items. Rachel commented, “We already knew how important this appeal was but visiting the Mission really made us realise how necessary it is.”
We are also grateful to Andrew Almond from A&A Marketing who kindly donated the bags for our washbag appeal.
The Hive, Birkenhead
Father Mark also received £1000 from a donor, and was directed to give this to Wirral Hive who had a threefold response to this money by providing: food hampers for the families for the Christmas holidays: a hamper for Christmas Day with a turkey and all the trimmings: and presents for the children.
Change a Child’s Life, Nairobi, Kenya
This year, it was not possible for Chapel Services to be held, due to the pandemic. Instead, services were recorded and shared with parents online. In lieu of the retiring collections, parents were asked if they could make a contribution to Change a Child’s Life.
Change a Child’s Life’ operates in and around the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, assisting orphaned and deprived children by providing safe accommodation, free education, fresh drinking water and food. Since 2019, the School has been sponsoring four-year old Natalia so that she can attend the Maria Immaculata School. This year has been extremely difficult for many vulnerable children and their families, with many experiencing extreme deprivation. Thanks to sponsorship, Natalia and her brother have been supported with food and all their basic needs during school closures. Through the donations raised, food parcels will be provided to families in need.
Further information on the charity and online donations can be found at: http://www.birkenheadschool.co.uk/Other/Change-a-Child-s-Life
Thank you to everyone who has helped contribute to the above charity donations. We and all the recipients are extremely grateful.