Pupils at Latymer Upper School actively engage in fundraising for charity, supporting a wide range of causes.
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Fundraising activities are wide-ranging and great fun. Recent fundraisers have included fashion shows, talent shows, the Latymer Arts Fair, sales of home-made cakes, sky-diving, sponsored rowing on the School’s rowing machines, dodgeball competitions and sponsored silences. All activities are devised, organised and run by pupils and it is the pupils who decide the charities to be supported.
Latymer Upper School has a proud history of supporting local, national and international charities and has forged strong links with its friends and neighbours whether in the community, outside the school gates or as far away as Africa. Each year the whole School votes for a school-wide theme they would like to engage with and a programme of trips, activities and events is organised around that theme. The theme for the current year is ‘refugees’ and we have supported West London Welcome and Care4Calais.
The theme guides our choice of speakers and the destinations for service learning trips. During 2018 we invited Lord Alf Dubs to speak about his experience of being a refugee coming to the UK in 1939, as well as a young refugee from Iraq who made the dangerous journey to the UK on his own, aged 15 . We also ran six successful trips to France where our staff and pupils volunteered for Care4Calais, helping to distribute clothing whilst talking to the refugees or offering support and kindness.
The school wide theme offers plenty of opportunities for vertical integration, with Sixth Form students leading Middle and Lower School students in initiatives, as well as delivering assemblies to younger students.
Service learning is a Round Square term, and the research and guidance from Round Square has helped us by giving us a conceptual framework around which we have designed trips, activities and assemblies.
Our aim is to incorporate ‘service learning’ into all charity activities at the School. Put simply, we are a school and not a fundraising organisation, so it is the learning that takes place that we believe will have a lasting impact on our society. We hope that it ignites a passion in our pupils and colleagues to learn about social issues and develop compassion and understanding for others. We hope to develop the confidence about what we, as citizens of the UK, can do to contribute to a solution.
We want Latymer students to have an intrinsic motivation to be involved in service learning and for it to become something that is embedded in their mindset that continues once they have left Latymer.
The Latymer Uganda Project was established in 2013 and supports M Lisada (youth centre and orphanage), The Mummy Foundation and Hidden Treasure Primary School in Kampala, and Soft Power Education, a forward-thinking charity based in Jinja. The project remains hugely popular with our pupil and staff community who tirelessly fundraise to support the various initiatives and who visit the country every other year. To fund the Latymer Uganda Project we have raised more than £80,000 over the last five years from non-uniform days, cake sales, sponsored cycle rides, Friday Night Lights, concerts, sponsored sky dives and lots more.
There is no free education in Uganda and many families simply cannot afford to send their children to school. So, in the spirit of our School’s founder Edward Latymer, who started our school nearly 400 years ago ‘to clothe and educate eight poore boyes’, we decided to use some of the fundraising to sponsor eight children from M-Lisada in order that they gain an education. M-Lisada stands for ‘Music Life Skills and Deprivation Alleviation’ and it is a youth centre and orphanage, which supports underprivileged adults and children in the Katwe slum. We pay for the eight children’s school fees, school uniform, school trips, books, stationery, toilet rolls and brooms (an essential item for any school child in Uganda!). It is always lovely to receive their termly reports and read of their great progress in school.
The fundraising has also paid for a two storey classroom block to be built at Hidden Treasure Primary School, along with a complete refurbishment of the whole school. Hidden Treasure is in the heart of the Katwe slum and it shares many of Latymer’s values. We have also funded four classroom blocks to be built and painted at primary schools in the rural areas around Jinja, which are supported by Soft Power Education. The Mummy Foundation is a centre that supports girls, teenage mothers and women. Over the last five years, our financial support has enabled them to refurbish their building, install a solar power system and have adequate medical and educational supplies.
On alternate years our students and staff volunteer to visit the four organisations in Uganda and take part in activities such as teaching some lessons to pre-school children and painting classrooms. The Latymer Uganda Project is a fantastic cause, of which Edward Latymer would be proud.