Community Matters by Mrs. SmithPosted on: 17/09/2021
I have been a part of the St. Helen’s College community for almost 12 years now. Throughout that time, I have found it to be a vibrant, happy, kind community of pupils, parents and staff and I feel very lucky to work in such an inspiring and friendly place.
It is interesting that the characteristics of our community remain constant, even though its members change annually, as new parents and children join the school and families who have been with the school many years move on. I am sure that the reason for this is that our community has such strong and enduring shared values: love, harmony, spirituality, self-awareness and growth.
Over the last year and a half, as we have negotiated our way through the pandemic, the word ‘community’ has taken on even greater, and perhaps wider, meaning. We have all become more aware that humanity is one global community, facing the same problems all over the world. We have, too, become more aware of our local communities: of the pressures and challenges on our healthcare system and its staff, on our education system and on parents and young people.
It is this increased awareness, perhaps, that has led us here at St. Helen’s College to reflect on how we can, as a school, contribute more to our local and global community. Our values are not only inward-looking, focussed on our own community; they are also outward-looking, and should enable us to make a difference to the lives of others outside of our school gates.
We have, for some time, been concerned at the lack of support networks available for new parents in the first few years of their children’s lives and we are taking steps to make a positive contribution in this area. Through our pre-school parenting programme, we are making advice and support available, free of charge, to parents in our local community and further afield, whether their child is to join St. Helen’s College or not. We are doing this through our programme of Teddy Talks and through offering free baby/toddler classes here at St. Helen’s College. The willingness of our staff to be involved in this project is a testament to their core values. We all feel the same desire to help and support those at the coalface of parenting, so that their babies and young children may have the very best experience possible. Seven new Teddy Talks have recently been filmed and added to the website. You can watch them by following these links:
SHC Teddy Talks - Early Years Music (Claire Fawbert)
SHC Teddy Talks - Making Time for Yourself (Steve Roche)
SHC Teddy Talks - Managing the Arrival of a Sibling (Leo Harrington)
In addition, Mrs. McLaughlin’s Mother/Baby Mindfulness classes are now running at school on Wednesday mornings, with the aim of supporting mums to support their babies. These classes are suitable for babies from about six weeks old to crawling, so if you know anyone with a child of the right age, do encourage them to sign up for a set of six classes by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently working on adding other classes to the programme.
The new St. Helen’s College Trust will be able to provide financial support to local organisations and/or families in order to enhance parents’ and children’s experiences, too. Mrs. Drummond, Mr. Sellu (an ex-St. Helen’s College parent) and I are the three founding Trustees of this Charitable Trust, which is a separate legal entity from the school itself. We have been working over the summer to establish and agree the Trust’s aims and principles, write our Governing Document, and establish our Charity bank account, as well as to identify potential income sources for the Trust. Our next steps will be to begin promoting the Trust to potential beneficiaries in the local area, as well as driving fundraising to add to its funds, so that we are able to make meaningful donations to support children and their parents/carers in our community. We are delighted that our school community will be able to contribute, through the Trust, to our wider local community, providing support for local families when they need it most. We hope to arrange a fundraising event during the current academic year and are currently considering hosting an Auction of Promises to which current St. Helen’s College families would be invited. We very much hope that you will consider attending such an event to help to raise funds for this cause.
The Trust exists to promote the advancement of children’s education and all-round development in the Hillingdon/Uxbridge local community. Its stated aims are to:
provide, enrich and extend educational and other opportunities for children from birth and throughout their primary education, and
provide support, advice and guidance for their parents and/or carers.
We are slowly building up funds for the Trust and we hope to invite applications from potential beneficiaries from January onwards. At first, the grants we will be able to make will be fairly small; in time, we hope that these will increase in size. Everything has to start somewhere!
We are planning to recruit more Trustees for the SHC Trust as time moves on, and are currently interested in hearing from anyone who has Charity or Fundraising experience and expertise. Please do get in touch if you have expertise in this area and are interested in becoming involved, either as a Trustee or adviser: email@example.com.
We believe that the pre-school parenting programme and the SHC Trust will enable the school community to make an increasingly meaningful contribution to the local community. We are open to any other ideas of ways in which we can support parents and children in the local community; please do let us know if you think of any!