How Ilkley Grammar School ran Charities Week during a pandemic!
Last week, from the 7th – 11th December 2020, Ilkley Grammar School marked its annual Charities Week, with a range of events taking place across the school throughout the week. In the run-up to Christmas, it was a perfect time to reflect and think about those who are less fortunate than us and see what we can do to raise money for our selected charities. Despite the ongoing pandemic and restrictions on gatherings, we were able to adjust events and still attempt to raise as much money as possible, with individual year groups carrying out different forms of charity and raising money.
Year 7 held two events: firstly, participating in a tutor group marathon relay challenge. The idea was for each tutor group to run the combined distance of 26.2 miles, with each student running 1 mile around the courts of the school! On the Wednesday, that year group took part in a ‘Green Non-Uniform Day,’ with students able to wear something green, representing the year group’s tie colour, in exchange for a small donation of £1.
Year 8 took part in a ‘Red Non-Uniform Day’ on Thursday 10th, with students able to wear something red, representing the year group’s tie colour, in exchange for a small donation of £1. Furthermore, they took part in a readathon tutor group challenge, which comprised of each student reading a section of the famous Dickens novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ to produce an audiobook. They also participated in a so-called ‘Everest Challenge!’ The students of year 8 climbed stairs to reach an aggregate height of 29,029 feet, which is the height of Mount Everest above sea level.
Year 9 meanwhile began Charities Week with a Student Council Sweet Sale; in the Year 9 Centre was a tuck shop stall selling individually wrapped sweets and chocolates. This was run during lunchtime by the Student Council Representatives for Year 9, not forgetting strict adherence to the current safety measures, of course. In addition to this, they took part in a ‘Purple Non-Uniform Day,’ with students able to wear something purple on the Tuesday, representing the year group’s tie colour, in exchange for a small donation of £1. Another event that Year 9 took part in was ‘Chores for Charity.’ This comprised of students being required to fill up a Smarties tube with 20 pence coins in return for completing chores and helpful jobs around the house. Instead of having to fill up the Smarties tube with the coins, students were able to donate the money via ParentPay rather than in cash. Moreover, Year 9 also took part in a ‘Spare Change Appeal’ during tutor time, with a collection bucket being circulated around tutor rooms for any small change that could be donated. As well this, there were students completing sponsored silences, making Christmas crafts, and even a sponsored head shaving!
The story for Year 10 and Year 11 was a little different this year. Whilst on a normal year, their high ambitions would enable them to take part in a wide variety of activities inside and outside of school and be the ‘exceptional citizens’ that they strive to be, they had to adapt to suit the current circumstances. Instead, some pupils approached the Student Council Representatives for the two year groups with a proposal to support a former Ilkley Grammar School student, Emma Harling, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Emma, who is aged 20, bravely shared her story via a detailed video link to pupils, which we all applaud her for! Therefore, there was a consensus between the scholars in Year 10 and Year 11 that all money raised during Charities Week 2020 would be donated to the Eve Appeal, a charity that Emma Harling supports and advocates. The Eve Appeal helps patients following a misdiagnosis of a gynaecological cancer, which Emma, of course, tragically experienced herself. Because their ways of raising money for charity was very limited, both years agreed to take part in a ‘Non-Uniform Day’ on different days, with scholars able to wear appropriate clothing of their choice in exchange for a small donation of £1.
Post 16 marked Charities Week by collecting for the Ilkley and Skipton Food Banks, which are in desperate needs of any donations right now. A collection box was placed in the Post 16 Office, where students from both Year 12 and Year 13 were advised to leave items. The food banks preliminarily advised that they required items such as basic toiletries, tinned fruit and vegetables and Christmas treats such as mince pies. Items that they made clear they did not require included: pasta, baked beans, soup, cereals and teabags.
In addition to this, Mr Revell and Mrs Varley hosted Bonkers Bingo on Thursday 11th December to enhance the amount of money we could raise for Charities Week. We were pleased to see almost 150 families join us via Teams and Showbie and they spectacularly raised somewhere in the region of £450-500. We had some very ecstatic winners of a Land Rover Experience, an inflatable dinosaur costume and a wide range of presents (fabulous and silly) gifted by families (in 7LIR) and local businesses.
Charities that we have chosen to put a spotlight on at IGS:
- Cancer Support Yorkshire: This charity is highly well-known to all at Ilkley Grammar School, having supported numerous members through cancer diagnosis and treatment. To assist with IGS’ COVID-secure fundraising efforts, the charity kindly set up a text giving line for our community. To donate to them right now, please text IGSCSY followed by your chosen donation amount (£1 minimum – £20 maximum) to 70085.
- Clarke Foley Centre: Situated in the heart of Ilkley, adjacent to the main car park, Clarke Foley is a charity providing facilities for recreational, educational, and a wide range of other leisure pursuits. It is used by people of all ages, many local clubs, groups, and societies who provide a variety of courses, events, exhibitions, and meetings. Our students have many family members who benefit from the Clarke Foley Centre, which remains closed due to COVID tier restrictions.
- Bradford Hospitals Charity: They support NHS workers during the pandemic, be it providing extra food when a shift has run over and care packs. This is a practical opportunity for us to thank those working on the front line to keep us safe.
- The Eve Appeal: On pupil recommendation, this charity has been chosen to support a former Ilkley Grammar School pupil, Emma Harling, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The Eve Appeal helps patients following a misdiagnosis of gynecological cancer. Emma has shared her experiences in a more detailed video to pupils and we are incredibly proud of her for having the courage to talk about cancer and remaining so positive. You can read Emma’s story by clicking on the link below:
Once all the money donated in cash or via ParentPay has been counted, we will post an update with the total raised.