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Embracing the season of giving: Dame Allan’s Schools spread cheer this Christmas

We caught up with Natalie Shaw, Vice Principal (Pastoral) at Dame Allan’s Schools, who shares touching stories of generosity and community spirit that have unfolded within the Schools this year.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 16.12.2023

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As the festive season is well underway, Dame Allan’s Schools are not just decking the halls; they are embracing the true spirit of Christmas by spreading joy and warmth through charitable initiatives.

Following a remarkable fundraising achievement of £8,232.89 during the last academic year, we’ve decided to delve into the heartwarming activities at Dame Allan’s Schools in Newcastle.

We caught up with Natalie Shaw, the Vice Principal (Pastoral)  at Dame Allan’s Schools, who shares tales of giving that make this time of year truly magical within the school community.

 

BUILT ON CHARITABLE FOUNDATIONS

Being in a school during the festive period can be a lot of fun – there are Christmas performances to watch, Christmas trees in the halls, and pupils are often in high spirits – but at Dame Allan’s, one of the most important things about this time of year is the opportunity to reflect on how we might have assisted those in our local area and beyond through our support of charities and causes.

Dame Allans Schools

Since being founded, Dame Allan’s Schools has had charity at its heart. Dame Eleanor Allan established the school in 1705 to provide a ‘proper’ education for 40 poor boys and 20 poor girls in the city. Every year, we remember our roots with a wide range of charitable initiatives across our schools. We’re very proud that pupils of all ages are keen to run and contribute towards charitable events.

Dame Allans Schools

PUPILS TAKING THE LEAD

From supporting food banks and volunteering at local care homes and primary schools to celebrating Children in Need at our Junior School and collecting toys for families experiencing challenges, the festive season brings out the very best of the pupils at Dame Allan’s.

The vast majority of fundraising ideas come from the pupils themselves – they’re passionate about supporting their chosen causes and very aware of the need to support our local community wherever possible.

RECENT CHARITABLE TRIUMPHS

Dame Allans Schools

Harvest Festival Collection

In October, we collected a vanload of food and essentials for the Newcastle Foodbank during the Harvest Festival.

Dame Allans Schools

Mission Christmas Appeal

Organised by one of our Year 11 boys’ forms, a toy collection for Metro Radio’s Cash for Kids Mission Christmas Appeal resulted in overwhelming donations.

Dame Allans Schools

Book Donation Drive

Our librarians led a school-wide drive for book donations for Borderline Books Charity, providing books to those without access.

Dame Allans Schools

Children in Need Fundraising

Our Junior School had a day of fundraising for Children in Need, featuring spots, Pudsey ears, a bring-and-buy sale, and a raffle, raising an impressive £1315.

Dame Allans Schools

Red Cross Bake Sale

Recently, our Sixth Formers held a breaktime bake sale and lunchtime benefit concert, supporting the valuable work of the Red Cross.

Dame Allans Schools

BUILDING CHARACTER THROUGH CHARITY

We expect our pupils to be community-minded, empathetic and kind, and encouraging them to get involved with charitable fundraising is a great way to do this. It also improves their organisational skills, which is an added bonus.

We have two dedicated Charity Officers within our Sixth Form, Mia and Aidan, who oversee a lot of our charitable giving. However, any pupil or staff member can suggest an area to support.

Dame Allans Schools

VOLUNTEERING MATTERS 

Alongside holding fundraisers and collections, Dame Allan’s Sixth Form students are keen to volunteer in their local community.

Years 12 and 13 may get involved with community service. Our dedicated careers team will place them with a local organisation, or students can pick their own placement if preferred.

At the moment, we have around 30 students volunteering in the community. They’re making a difference in local primary schools (including volunteering with our younger pupils at Dame Allan’s Junior School) and helping at a myriad of organisations including Stepney Bank Stables, the Percy Hedley Foundation, The West End Women and Girls Centre, Cafe 16, Cafe Beam, Citizens Advice, care homes, and charity shops.

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