Being the time of year that brings joy, happiness, and new beginnings to many people, I believed it was important that, as a school, we took the time and effort to appreciate those who will most likely not be experiencing high levels of Christmas spirit this year. Due to this, the Sixth Form Charity Co-Ordinator Team of Kiean Bernard, Jennifer Deakin, Bethan Goddard, and I, decided it was the perfect opportunity for us to partake in St Chad’s Rotary Shoebox Scheme.

This scheme was originally started by North-West Rotary clubs in 1994 to provide children from north-east Romania with Christmas gifts. Since then, the scheme has become a national project gaining increasing support from Rotary clubs, individuals, schools, companies, churches, Inner Wheel, and Rotary/Interact clubs. Each year around 50,000 shoeboxes are sent to disadvantaged families in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe such as Romania, Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Albania, Croatia and Kosovo.

It aims to provide gifts for the children as they cannot afford these luxuries and quite possibly, the items in these boxes may have been the only gifts they have received in a while. The boxes also aim to give families various household items that they may struggle to afford and ones we may take for granted in our everyday lives such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. We thought this scheme would be ideal to help pupils gain a further understanding of how fortunate we are to have basic necessities, and how it’s fun to help spread a little bit of happiness; and what better time to do this then at Christmas!

The students at The Friary were excellent at filling the boxes with the perfect items for their designated box theme; especially Garrick House, who donated incredible amounts for the baby and new mother box! In total, the Friary School produced 50 shoeboxes full for the disadvantaged families along with dozens of extra items that couldn’t fit into the boxes!

Overall, I would like to thank the form tutors who helped with filling the boxes, the students and their families who actually donated the items, and the Rotary Organisation who provided the boxes and made it possible for us to help those less fortunate this Christmas.

Millie Hopcott
(Head of the Charity Coordinators and President of The Friary Interact Club)