The Gift of Kindness at Christmas

 

11 December 2023

Service to others is at the heart of Downe House’s ethos and we are aware of our responsibility to nurture pupils into thoughtful, engaged citizens. It is particularly poignant at Christmas that we dedicate time to activities which contribute to the local community and encourage a sense of social responsibility in our girls.

Read on to discover how our pupils have been giving back to the local community this festive season.

Lower School Charity Fayre

On Sunday 10 December the Lower School held its annual Christmas Charity Fayre – with all proceeds going to support the fund for Cold Ash Recreational Ground as a local charity initiative.

Anticipation had been building for weeks as the girls, under the guidance of their Housestaff, poured plenty of creativity and enthusiasm into crafting a lovely array of homemade products to sell. From winter-scented candles and mouth-watering shortbread to homemade Christmas cards and glittery tree decorations – not to mention three much coveted hampers as our raffle prizes! Also on sale, were the Charity Christmas Cards which Lower School design and sell each year. This year they created six wonderful designs.

 

 

We want to thank all those who came to support the girls; it was wonderful to see so many people laughing and smiling,
clutching raffle tickets and laden down with sparkling fir cones, candles and bags of shortbread!
– Miss Kate Eaves, Assistant Head (Lower School)

Congratulations to all the pupils for their hard work in raising over £1000; a donation which will be match-funded by Greenham Trust.

Over-80s Parcel Fund

On Friday 8 December and Saturday 9 December, Downe House girls helped to deliver Christmas goodies, funded by donations from local people, through the Newbury Weekly News Over-80s Parcel Fund. This involved teams going out into the local community to deliver parcels to nominated over-80s in the area around the School.

The Parcel Fund is not means tested in any way,
as money is no bar to loneliness;
it is purely a seasonal ‘thank you’ from
the whole of the community to our elderly residents.
– Sarah Bosley, Newbury Weekly News

The teams worked collaboratively to collect the parcels from a central location in Thatcham and load them into the School vehicles. They were then driven to various locations including Cold Ash, Bucklebury, Hermitage and Thatcham where our pupils delivered the parcels door-to-door.

The volunteers included some students on The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award as well as other volunteers who wanted to spend their time helping to ensure that local people enjoy their Christmas with food and treats to consume over the festive period.

 

 

Shoebox Appeal

Each year, our School community puts together shoeboxes, festively wrapped and filled with items such as toiletries, clothing, food, books and stationery as part of the Berkshire Women’s Aid Shoebox Appeal.

Christmas can be a time of isolation and sadness which can be worse when a person does not have a home.
Berkshire Women’s Aid provides advice, support and refuge services to victims of domestic abuse and our aim
is to ensure everyone helped by BWA has a gift this Christmas.
– Penny Post

This is a fantastic way to make a huge difference to those who receive the shoeboxes as well as encouraging our pupils to consider the needs of others and what they can do to make a difference. We are delighted to say that, this year, the School donated over 120 boxes.

Christmas Carolling

It is no secret that Downe House holds a great love of music and Christmas offers many opportunities for our young musicians to perform. This year, choirs visited Winchcombe Place Care Home to spread festive cheer by singing Christmas carols and chatting to the residents.

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