Chestnut Grove Academy is a secondary school in South London which is extremely diverse and provides exceptional inclusivity and an unwavering determination to support every single member of its Creative Learning Community. The school has a large number of students who receive Free School Meals and with special educational needs.
The coronavirus pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for a large number of our families: a vast number have lost their solvency due to the closure of their workplaces or reduction of income, whilst low-income families have been plunged to new, extremely worrying depths of financial struggle. Parents’ financial struggles, disruptions to education and frequent social isolation have had a detrimental effect on children’s mental health.
During the first national lockdown, as part of our efforts to support families, we raised in excess of £13,000 via DonateMySchool, which enabled us to support 40 vulnerable families from April to September 2020 by helping them with the essentials: we provided food vouchers, purchased toiletries, clothes, learning equipment, helped them cover their utility bills and provided remote counselling for students struggling with their situation. Most importantly, the campaign united us in caring for each other: the response of the general public and Chestnut Grove community was indeed moving, lifting us above our fears and confinement.
The level of need during the first lockdown was incredibly high, but there are concerning signs that it is even higher now, when our vulnerable families are drained by never-ending challenges the pandemic is imposing on them. In the unbreakable spirit of Chestnut Grove solidarity and compassion, we are stepping up again to respond to this need. We are reaching out and providing individual support in sourcing and helping families access financial and other help from charities and local government bodies - but we are also calling on all of you who would like to join us in our resolve to not allow children to experience hunger, sanitary poverty or be left without access to our remote curriculum. Whilst upholding necessary physical isolation, we want to maintain our sense of community and avoid a feeling of total isolation.
We are looking to raise funds which will enable us to:
- provide food vouchers and other essentials (toiletries, gas, electricity, etc.) for families who are unable to access the support from the Government or need urgent help whilst waiting for this support to reach them.
- provide internet access for families unable to fund it themselves.
- support vulnerable students’ mental health through counselling.
Should there be any surplus, we will use it as a hardship fund for our disadvantaged students.
All support will be provided by our teachers and tutors (or external professionals in case of counselling), who know the families well and who have closely liaised with them in supporting our students since they joined Chestnut Grove. All donations will be delivered and packaged with smiles, words of reassurance and a sense of togetherness during what can otherwise be a solitary time.
Thanking you in advance for your valued support.