On July 2nd an unprecedented number of Seaford College students and staff surged out into the community to help a variety of environmental and social causes. Over 450 students and staff took part in Seaford’s third annual Community Action Day, known as the Big Day Out, over 33 different locations in West Sussex. John Green, Headmaster created the initiative at Seaford College. John said: “The main idea is to make a positive difference to the surrounding community. Due to the success last year, 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”.
Pupils took residents from care homes in Petworth, Pulborough, Steyning and Bognor Regis out for tea and cake, following on from the successful ‘Picnic in the Park’ event, where residents from the Shaw Care Home Group had a picnic in Seaford’s beautiful grounds. Many thanks to Macari’s café in Bognor Regis for providing free drinks.
Students and staff also assisted with a range of social projects, visiting the Aldingbourne Centre, a trust dedicated to helping those with learning disabilities to reach their potential and enjoy life, to help with a variety of different projects. Seaford students also visited local schools – Oakwood, Conifers and St Peter’s in Shoreham-by-Sea – to lead activities with pupils. Head of Girls’ Games Emma Teague visited St Peter’s with four students to help with a range of numeracy and literacy activities, and Headmistress of St Peter’s Mrs Crees said: “We are very grateful to Seaford College for including us in their community project. Their support was much appreciated and enjoyed by the children. We hope to be included again next year.”
Meanwhile, Year 10 students provided a free carwash in Midhurst, and Seaford returned to the Whyke Estate in Chichester to help vulnerable residents. In March, Seaford was awarded the national ‘Making a Lasting Difference’ Award by the Hyde Group, for its work on the estate during last year’s Community Action Day.
Seaford pupils were also busy helping the environment. Prep School pupils embarked on a litter-picking mission across West Sussex: Years 5 and 6 went beach-cleaning at Bracklesham, Bognor and Selsey, whilst Year 4 went litter-picking at Petworth House. Elsewhere, Seaford pupils helped to improve the environment by removing Himalayan Balsam, a rapidly growing invasive plant that smothers other vegetation and prevents it from growing, as well as strangling watercourses, from the RSPB Pulborough Brooks. Headmaster John Green joined in the effort at Monkmead Wood, and was delighted to be helping this important environmental cause.
Students teamed up with Parish Councils in Bury, Lavant and Oving to help improve the environment for local residents. One of Seaford’s Deputy Heads William Yates assisted Lavant Parish Council, commenting: “We spent the morning clearing the play area, and the afternoon clearing paths. The students were great; Lavant Parish Council was really appreciative and want us to come back next year. It was a hugely positive experience.” A representative from the Parish Council said: “A very big thank you to the Seaford College team, who worked very hard and did excellent job. Our volunteers all thought it was a great day. Our playground looks ready for the summer holidays and you have helped us to make a start on our football field. Your visit has enthused our local volunteers and we are continuing the great work you started next week.”
Staff and students also volunteered at a variety of animal shelters, helping with dog-walking at Clymping Dog Sanctuary, visiting ABC Animal Sanctuary and Brent Lodge Wildlife Hospital. At Brent Lodge students helped to look after baby hedgehogs, who need feeding every hour with formula milk. The hedgehog population in the United Kingdom is under threat of extinction by 2026, and Brent Lodge plays a vital role in sustaining the population. Teacher Yvonne Clarke who accompanied the trip said: “The students have come back exhausted, but full of the joy that you get from nurturing a young baby. They did really well.”
Community Coordinator Clive Thorpe, who organised the day, said: “It’s really important that our students realise just how lucky they are, it’s great for them to get out and see that people are not as fortunate as themselves. It’s good for them to discover skills they didn’t know they’ve got.”
“Looking forward, Seaford College is always looking for new partnerships. If anybody would like to be considered for next year’s event please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org.”