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16 October, 2014

School students recognised for social action, at the Treasury today

Six schools travel to the Treasury this morning for our twelfth annual Giving Nation Awards, where they will be recognised for their outstanding social action work.

Giving Nation street crowd 2013

Cherwell School in Oxfordshire, Sandside Lodge School and St Bernard's Catholic High School in Cumbria, Glebelands School in Surrey, Rugeley Academies in Staffordshire, Rainhill High School in Merseyside, are all being awarded for their part in our Giving Nation programme.

But these are just the few that represent the great numbers of young people doing great social action work in and out of schools across the country. In the academic year 2013-14 alone, 49,000 school students took part in Giving Nation.

Supported by 1,600 teachers, they contributed over 200,000 hours of their free time to voluntary work and raised more than £250,000 for charity.

90 per cent say they understand the role of charities and social enterprises.

85 per cent say they understand they can make a difference.

All these numbers and more are in our colourful new Giving Nation Impact Report. Today, though, our awards acknowledge the fantastic contribution these young people are making to our society. 

The Challenge Award

Cherwell School, Oxfordshire

Cherwell School were one of the initial pilot schools for the Giving Nation Challenge and have been taking part in the project since 2007. For the past few years their social action efforts have focussed on an ambitious social enterprise entitled the ‘Chicken Project'. This project originally aimed to reduce poverty in South Africa by developing sustainable skills in both business and agriculture. Students have been actively involved in running a range of fundraising activities in order to set-up chicken farms to be run by local villagers. This successful model has since expanded to work in Cameroon. Students have also used the money raised by their fundraising activities to fund four libraries in this area. Last year the project team volunteered over 220 hours outside class time and raised in excess of £2,500 towards their goals.

The Spirit Award

Sandside Lodge School, Cumbria

Landside Lodge is a special school which caters for students who are statemented as having severe of profound and multiple learning difficulties. This was the school's first year of participating in Giving Nation Spirit. Over the course of the last year the school ran three separate social action projects including ‘SLATE' in aid of RNLI, where students recycled slate collected from Burlington Quarry to produce a range of products to sell in local stores. Students also raised funds for Macmillan and St Mary's Hospice in Cumbria. In total they raised in excess of £600 for their chosen beneficiaries.

Fundraising

Glebelands School, Cranleigh

Students ran the first ever UK based fundraising event for the Tyler Robinson Foundation, a charity which aims to support paediatric cancer patients. Through a range of initiatives including: a music festival, the making and selling of wristbands, selling refreshments at a local supermarket and distributing charity boxes to local business', students raised nearly £1,000. And the hard work didn't stop there. Students are currently working with the Foundation in both the USA and France to organise a worldwide event aimed at raising both awareness and funds.

Social Enterprise

Rugeley Academies, Staffordshire

In 2014, Giving Nation partnered with the Creative Education Trust (CET) to support an inter-academy ‘Day of Service' across seven secondary schools. As part of this neighbouring academies, Fair Oak and Hagley Park joined forces to combat poverty and social isolation in their local community. Students hit on an innovative way to tackle both these problems through a single business idea - the creation of a Toy Library. The initiative aimed to offer low-income families in Rugeley with an affordable way to provide their children with toys, whilst also offering them a safe, supportive space to socialise with others at an onsite café. The library launched in early June and is currently open one day a week. There is commitment from both schools to see that the Toy Library will be a rolling Year 8 project, handed onto new students to manage every year.

Awareness Campaigning

Rainhill High School, Merseyside

With their local community being rocked by the murder of a local teenager back in 2007, students at Rainhill set about tackling the issues surrounding hate crime. Working alongside the Sophie Lancaster Foundation students aimed to get the laws around Hate Crime changed. Amongst other things students have met with their local metropolitan police and youth advisory board, set up a petition, organised a workshop at their school on the theme of diversity and raised funds for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. Students have also negotiated with the school's management team to get an allocated day focussing on raising awareness of crimes against alternative sub-cultures.

Volunteering

St Bernard's Catholic High School, Cumbria

Students at St Bernard's were shocked when they discovered that many of their peers entered secondary school with below average literacy skills and had already been put off reading. Students decided to tackle the very root of this problem by designing a range of story books aimed at Key Stage 1 pupils (aged 5-7) featuring fictional characters called ‘Little Owls.' Having perfected their product students went on to plan and deliver a series of workshops based on these books with a group of Year 1 students at a local primary school. Students are currently in discussion with other primary schools in order to offer the workshops to more children in their community.

Read our Giving Nation Impact Report.

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