In the autumn term, the Yr 6 members of the School Council met with Mayor of Lewisham: Sir Steve Bullock and the members of the Young Mayor’s Team to find out about the work they do. The children were particularly inspired by the way the Young Mayor of Lewisham works with a team to improve aspects of the local community. This year the School Council voted to raise awareness about homelessness in the school and local community and to raise some money to help homeless people. The initial fundraising was to buy sleeping bags for the 999 Club’s Winter Shelter.
In Yr 2 – 6 classes School Councillors lead meetings where children discussed: why some people do not have a home; what they thought people should know about homeless people; how they could raise money to help homeless people. They also talked about their existing impression of the homeless: their age, appearance, thoughts, feelings, personalities etc.
Councillors shared these impressions with Peter Wood, the director of the 999 Club, a local charity that Helps People to Help Themselves, when he visited them in November. He helped the School Council to plan an assembly to launch the fundraising campaign, where they shared their new understanding of the socio-economic and emotional reasons for people becoming homeless, as well as the physical consequences of homelessness. They thought that it was important that their classmates understood why people become homeless and how every child can contribute in a small way to make a big difference. They also emphasised the importance of children donating from their own pocket money or money they have earned from jobs etc. rather than just asking parents for the money.
The first fundraising initiative was to buy sleeping bags, so each guest has a warm, clean bed for the night. The School Councillors organised the following fundraising activities:
Autumn: A Pyjama Day on the last day of term, where children donated some of their pocket money to come to school in their PJs.
Autumn: Guess the Number of Sweets in a Jar for a 50p donation.
Spring: Pre-Loved Bring and Buy Sale.
Hi Edmund Waller! This is Abdul & Nia and we represent 4W and 4A on the School Council. On Friday 16th January 2015, our School Council will be holding the Bring & Buy sale in Cooke Hall at 3.30pm. You could bring anything of interest to you that YOU think somebody will like to buy. We thought of things like toys, books, DVDs etc. We would not like anything that is broken or damaged. We are raising money for sleeping bags for homeless people, because it is very cold and wet. So please have a good search around your home. We would also love donations of cakes and sweets but if you bring in food bring it on Thursday 15th January please. Please could you bring any donations to the school office.
Spring: The Council will decide how to maximise on the donations from HarperCollins Children’s Books.
Summer: They will also consider how to raise awareness of homelessness in the local community during the Spring and Summer months (when the voice of homeless charities are traditionally quieter) in partnership with the 999 Club.
At the end of the Autumn term, the Winner of the Guess the Sweets in a Jar competition was announced and we celebrated Pyjama Day with a Whole School Assembly. Children watched a video to remind them of the valuable work the 999 Club does to help the homeless.
The current fundraising total is: £403.50 – children were proud that this money came from their own pocket money etc. rather than asking their parents to put their hands in their pockets.
The children wrote thank you letters acknowledging the generosity of Peter Woods from the 999 Club, who has given his time an expertise and HarperCollins, who publish David Walliam’s ‘Mr Stink’ and have donated a large number of books, audiobooks and DVDs to help fundraising.
Councillors have also created a learning display in the school entrance, where they share the aims of their project, chart our fundraising progress on a Blue Peter style ‘thermometer’ they designed themselves and record the nightly temperature in Lewisham – which helps put our fundraising for sleeping bags into context.