Eastbury and Sydney Russell pupils praised for raising awareness of social issues and money for charities

Pupils at Eastbury Community School have been praised for their charity efforts. Picture: Eastbury C

Pupils at Eastbury Community School have been praised for their charity efforts. Picture: Eastbury Community School - Credit: Eastbury Community School

Pupils from two secondary schools have been praised for their efforts in raising awareness of social issues as well as funds for charity.

Youngsters at Eastbury Community School and The Sydney Russell School have been involved in First Give, which supports schools and students to tackle social issues through community action.

Louisa Searle, the organisation’s director, said: “This pandemic has been challenging for us but this is an opportunity for students to make a difference that’s tangible and meaningful and gives a chance to help charities, particularity in areas like Barking and Dagenham which are seeing increased demand.

“To have young people advocate for them, getting the word out there is hugely important at this time.”

Year 12 pupils from both schools have worked on a number of projects and debates about issues important to them, such as knife crime, mental health awareness and domestic violence and have raised money for charities through bake sales, food bank collections, movie nights and sponsored walks.

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After planning their campaigns and meeting with charities, they present to a panel for a chance to win a £1,000 donation for their chosen charity, granted by FirstGive.

Louisa said: “Their creativity blows me away every time. Young people are so often eager to find out what is going on in their local community. There is a real power in connecting young people to grass roots causes.”

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Eastbury pupils were congratulated on their ‘best First Give ever’ for their work supporting YoungMinds.

Psychology teacher Anna Papacosta said: “Students achieve a sense of pride for raising not only money but awareness for the different charities and also supporting the community.”

And the pandemic isn’t slowing down pupils’ determination to help their chosen causes, with sixth formers at Sydney Russell creating Covid-friendly fundraisers for the Ben Kinsella Trust and Refuge.

Selina Botwe, the school’s enrichment and enhancement co-ordinator, said: “It’s really good because it creates such a buzz in the school, especially at this difficult time. It gives then an opportunity to look outside themselves and become global citizens.”

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