Pupils at Barkerend Primary Leadership Academy are giving the gift of kindness to hundreds of people who are facing hardship and loneliness this year.

Young pupils have been taking part in activities and challenges to raise funds and spread kindness as part of their annual Festive Winter Gift Programme.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, pupils were unable to take part in many of their usual activities. But ingenious staff at the school still found ways for pupils to make a difference.

As part of a ‘class charity challenge’ pupils raised funds to buy gifts for residents at their neighbouring care home, Shakespeare Court. Activities included: non-uniform and fancy dress days; art activities; decorating buns & biscuits and filling 2 bottles with coins as a half class competition.

Friendship pebble decorated by a pupil

Pupils also exchanged letters and cards with residents at the home and decorated pebbles on the theme of ‘friendship’ which were placed outside the school to create a meaningful display which the residents can view from their rooms which overlook the playground.

Activities peaked with a socially distanced winter concert for the residents of Shakespeare Court performed by pupils in the school. The concert took place in the school playground which is overlooked by the care home. Residents were unable to contain their delight as they watched the performance filled with moving songs through the windows of their care home.  Pupils topped off the performance by giving residents gifts to bring comfort during the long winter months.

Alongside these activities, the school also collected tins and treat items for local foodbanks and raised funds for ‘Save The Children’ through a ‘Christmas Jumper Day’. The school also joined with other Star Academies’ schools for a ‘Food for All Week’. From 7th to 13th December, schools across the Trust aimed to distribute 50,000 food parcels and meals to those experiencing food poverty.

Ann Winter, Principal at Barkerend Primary Leadership Academy said that the school’s gift programme had helped pupils to understand the power of kindness and how their actions could help others during times of difficulty.

She said: “We are incredibly fortunate to be part of a very special community of pupils, parents and staff and our whole school benefits from these relationships.

“This year has been difficult for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Festive Winter Gift Programme was a chance for us to really show pupils how their small acts of kindness can help to spread joy to people in need.

“The campaign was an opportunity to strengthen connections in the community and reinforce our position as a school that sits at the very heart of the community it serves.”

The school’s annual Festive Winter Gift Programme is part of a wider programme of giving and thanks that takes place across the 29 schools that are all part of the Star Academies multi-academy trust.