Beyond the Classroom
There is more to charity than fundraising, and it is our hope at Sutton Valence that through the experience and involvement that charitable endeavour affords we shall be able to involve ourselves in the lives of those who will thrive on a little more love and consideration, and an occasional thought beyond our own self-interest.
We have had visitors from Starlight Children’s Charity, Hounds for Heroes who provide dogs to help disabled servicemen, and Porchlight who work with people who are homeless in Kent.
Local parish councillors came to explain how the money raised from our sponsored walk would help to complete the new children’s playground in the village, St. Dunstan’s explained about how they help blinded servicemen, and Mr. Galloway from the LEAP schools in South Africa took our best wishes and mufti money.
Individual houses and individual pupils and members of staff also focus on their own involvement with charities. Money and time have been spent in the cause of Cancer Research, Childline, Sport Relief, and the Kent Air Ambulance. The Children’s Trust had a clothing collection, and the Petite Ecole Kentoise benefited from the Happy Bags which were filled by various tutor groups. Demelza House was very much in our thoughts and prayers at the staff Christmas raffle and the Jazz Supper, and the Valentines Carnations were a connexion to Riding for the Disabled.
Music concerts raised money for Dementia UK and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, and it was SVS cufflinks that kept Age Concern very much in mind, while the choices of the newly formed Charities Committee meant that the children involved were able to direct some of the funds raised through own-clothes mufti days towards the Barnabas Fund who help to support persecuted Christians overseas, and to Giving Africa who help to supply clean water, amongst other things, to communities in Burkina Faso.
We have shared not only what is raised by the staff and the children, but also that which is given in chapel at the Carol Services, the Deanery Lent Study Group and the Confirmation Service by those who worship occasionally with us as they visit our School. These collections have been given in support of the Caldecott Foundation children’s charity, the work for ethnic reconciliation by the Church in Sri Lanka, and the relief of poverty, after devastating storms, by the Church in Madagascar, which is partnered with the diocese of Canterbury.
The dilemma is always there between raising funds and raising awareness and the two do not always go together, but we do hope that by our aim to look beyond our own privilege and benefit we can help both to recognise and to meet the needs of others on our own doorstep and further afield, fully to obey Jesus’ commandment that we should love both God and neighbour, this year and every year.
Father Paul Kish