By Julia Bevan, Teacher of English and DofE Manager
Despite the challenges they have faced due to COVID related restrictions, Bedalians have continued to impress with their efforts in completing the various sections of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award.
For the Volunteering section of the Bronze Award, Block 3 student Florence Pohlschmidt helped out at her mother’s art school in London, tidying and reorganising the studio sculpture, etching and drawing rooms. Florence also volunteered at her former primary school, Heathbrook, in their wildlife garden, clearing, cleaning and reorganising the school’s greenhouse.
Inspired by a Wandsworth primary school who contacted her mother’s art school about the possibility of its students painting a rainbow mural to raise the pupils’ spirits after lockdown, Florence took the initiative to ask Heathbrook’s headteacher, Mr Ben Roberts, if she could continue to volunteer at the school by painting a large mural.
After Heathbrook gave her permission to paint a mural on the wall of an area known as ‘The Shed’, Florence decided – with the support of her art teacher – to produce a rainbow design in a nod to keyworkers, based on the work of artists Wassily Kandinsky and Sonia Delaunay.
The mural itself covers four 2.5 x 2.5 metre wall panels, which were prepared with two primers and a light blue base colour, before Florence scaled up her drawing and cut out templates for each section, drawing it on the wall in charcoal ready for painting. The process was supported by volunteers from Longbrook’s PTA.
Florence said: “I was so pleased to be able to offer to do this as part of my DofE Award, as it was also a way I could say thank you for everything my primary school has done for me. The final mural looks fantastic and I learnt so much from the project.”
By Julia Bevan, Teacher of English and DofE Manager
While we are in lockdown, it is trickier than usual for students to complete the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award, but I am pleased to see that so many of them remain committed to completing the various sections of the programme despite the circumstances we find ourselves in.
For the Volunteering section of the Bronze Award, Block 3 student Mo Griffiths wrote to West Wittering Estate to request permission to do some litter picking on West Wittering beach. They were very happy for Mo to litter pick at the beach and, as well as giving Mo a quick safety briefing before he set off, offered to lend him a litter picker. Mo wore gloves for the activity and chose to focus on picking up small pieces of plastic which don’t decompose and can stick around indefinitely, causing problems for marine ecosystems.
I look forward to seeing more students’ contributions to their DofE Award in the coming weeks.
On Wednesday afternoon, a quartet of Bedalians made their way into Petersfield to take part in a new initiative: volunteering at the Pop-in Café at Winton House Centre. Winton House is an independent registered charity – staffed mostly by volunteers – which maintains the Grade II-listed building of the same name, supports other local charities and voluntary organisations, and provides services and facilities to help the local community.
Miranda Robertson, Bella Cutts, Jack Brooksbank and Archie Tier arrived promptly, donning stripy aprons and thoroughly washing their hands, ready to begin. All had passed food hygiene courses before setting foot in Winton House, so were well-versed in the basics, such as removing dangly earrings and watches before getting to work in the kitchen.
By Al McConville, Director of Learning and Innovation
We’re working hard at Bedales to give students more opportunities to volunteer for good causes, since we know how satisfying that proves to be for many people.
We have kicked off the year with a new scheme for Block 3 to undertake ‘service’ activities within the community to get them in the mood, working with the kitchens, the library and the gardeners to keep the place ticking, and to give them a sense of responsibility for their surroundings.
In addition, a whole host of sixth formers are heading down the road to Steep Primary School to help younger children with their learning, and a separate group have embarked on a project with the Fitzroy charity for adults with learning difficulties at their base in the Sustainability Centre. This week we got cracking on a pond, and painted the inside of their composting toilet!
Lots more opportunities in the pipeline – watch this space.
Home from Home is a solo exhibition of British painter Alex Rennie’s work at The Frestonian Gallery in London inspired by and in aid of Bedales-supported charity the Rural Refugee Network.
The exhibition explores the theme of a British welcome in relation to the Syrian migrant crisis. A percentage of sales proceeds will be donated to both the Rural Refugee Network and it’s partner charity Children on the Edge. The charities rehouse Syrian refugees in the UK as well as educating displaced Syrian refugee children residing in the Lebanese refugee camps.
Rather than portray explicit scenes of refugee life, Rennie has taken an alternative visual approach. The artist held a number of interviews and workshops with Syrian refugees and children that have been resettled in the UK by the Rural Refugee Network. The resulting artworks are informed by these testimonies as well as discussions with volunteers from the Rural Refugee Network about the successes they have had and the challenges they face.
Among the imagery featured are teacups, sandcastles, flowers and flags. Visual references that are quintessentially British, but also have universal appeal. The paintings were created to reflect the notion of empowerment: that of the refugees themselves, but also empowering the public to take action and to play a part in tackling the worst humanitarian crisis of our generation.
The exhibition runs for two days only, 24 and 25 September 2019 at the Frestonian Gallery in Notting Hill West London.