Big Day Out sees 500 students and staff work in community

Seaford College students helped with a range of numeracy and literacy activities at St Peter's Catholic Primary School in Shoreham SUS-160407-112130001
Seaford College students helped with a range of numeracy and literacy activities at St Peter's Catholic Primary School in Shoreham SUS-160407-112130001

An unprecedented number of students and staff from Seaford College in Petworth have surged out into the community to help a variety of environmental and social causes.

More than 500 students and staff took part in the school’s fourth annual community action day, known as the Big Day Out, at more than 40 different locations in Sussex and Hampshire on June 30.

Headmaster John Green, who created the initiative, said: “The main idea is to make a positive difference to the surrounding community.

“Due to the success of our annual action day, Wednesday afternoons are now blocked out in the timetable for weekly community events. Our students are extremely fortunate to study and live in such a beautiful part of the country – it is only right that they put something back.”

Mr Green and houseparent Matthew Pitteway joined students at Chichester-based homeless charity Stonepillow to help clean out a storeroom.

Mr Pitteway now plans to take a group of boarders each week to support the charity on an ongoing basis.

He said: “There is so much we can do to help them and we all got a great sense of achievement out of the day. You really feel you are making a difference.

“It is a big task keeping on top of the storeroom. We unpacked donations, checked the food was in date and then we put a clear best-before label on them before putting them away.

“We also sorted through the existing donations in the stockroom to check dates and organise the tins and packets. The students are keen to go back and help. The group worked really hard and achieved a lot in the day.”

New venues for 2016 included Coultershaw Beam Pump for clearance, Tuppenny Barn for planting, Stansted House to clean the cooper in the former kitchens.

Other ventures included visiting Aldingbourne Country Centre to assist with a variety of tasks and working with the Hyde Group to help residents at the Whyke Estate in Chichester, including cleaning windows, washing cars, clearing gardens and picking up litter.

Community co-ordinator Clive Thorpe, who organised the day, said: “It has been another great year and many students have said that they want to help support projects on a weekly basis which is great. The students felt a real sense of achievement and pride in what they did for the community.”

Some students visited other schools to lead activities with pupils, including at Oakwood in Chichester and St Peter’s Catholic Primary School in Shoreham.

Sports teacher Lauren Bryant visited St Peter’s with four students to help with a range of numeracy and literacy activities.

Lauren said: “The girls were really excited to be helping out at a school.”

Kate Crees, head teacher at the Shoreham school, said it was the second year St Peter’s had taken part in the day.

“Once again, the pupils here really enjoyed interacting with the Seaford students,” she added.

“I’d like to thank Lauren and the girls from Seaford, and we very much hope to be included again next year.”

Seaford College is always open to new partnerships. If anybody would like to be considered for next year’s event, contact Clive Thorpe by email, cthorpe@seaford.org.

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