At the beginning of December, Mrs Ross, Head of REAL and EPRE, carried out assemblies to ensure our students were aware of the importance of Christmas to Christians across the world. It is important that our students understand that, although for many families Christmas is more of a tradition, for Christians Christmas, and the lead up to it, ‘Advent’, is an extremely important time. Mrs Ross then set all of our year groups a different Advent challenge for their Tutor groups to volunteer to take part in.
Year 7 were challenged to donate goods that would go into shoeboxes that would be distributed by the St Vincent de Paul, Christian charity, to families living in extreme deprivation and struggling in the Newcastle area in the week leading up to Christmas. The response was fantastic and 10, very full and beautifully presented, shoeboxes were handed over to make some families and children smile this Christmas.
Year 8 were challenged to work together in classes to raise money for the St Vincent de Paul, Christian charity to buy ‘Vinnie Packs’ (a pack with cold weather items for rough sleepers and it includes toiletries, hat, gloves, socks and a thermal blanket priced at around £4.00 each) so that homeless people across our region could have something to look forward to and could spend the Christmas period in relative warmth and comfort knowing that they have been thought of and that people care. The response was phenomenal with bake sales, selling pick n mix packs and acts of kindness at home carried out by the students themselves in order to raise vital funds. The cheque that was handed over to the SVP charity was for £100.00 meaning 25 rough sleepers will benefit from receiving one of these packs.
The Metro Radio Cash 4 Kids Mission Christmas appeal was the challenge set for our Year 9 students. This appeal’s target is to ensure that 45,000 children across the Northeast region, who are struggling and living in poverty, will get a gift this Christmas. Our students’ response was definitely one to be proud of. Some carried out bake sales and some sold sweets whilst others donated money of their own in order to raise money for this worthwhile but heart wrenching cause. As a result we have been able to make a donation the Mission Christmas appeal for a fabulous £157.00.
Our Year 10 and 11 students were challenged to create a ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ where they ‘gave’ rather than received. The idea was that each tutor group collected festive chocolate packs during the first 2 weeks of December that would be donated to the Gateshead foodbank. Once again our students rose to the challenge and Gateshead foodbank arrived to pick up a huge box containing an array of festive treats that would be distributed to families in need during the week leading up to Christmas.
We are extremely proud of our students for their response to their Advent challenges and are delighted that we were able to see the ‘giving’ in Christmas and the need to demonstrate compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves.