Wednesday 28th September saw all Brighton College pupils and staff engage in over 100 community service projects in and around Brighton, as they set out to help their local area as part of the College's fourth annual "Make a Difference Day." Whether clearing Coldean Woods together with Brighton and Hove Urban Rangers or undertaking maintenance at St Dunstan's centre for blind ex-servicemen and women; marching and collecting in support of Breast Cancer Awareness or clearing scrub with the National Trust Downland Restoration Project at Devil's Dyke; baking cakes for the elderly, sorting stock for the Martlets Hospice charity shops or, indeed, picking litter from the beaches and roads of Kemp Town; more than 800 pupils worked in the community to support a huge range of projects across the city and local area.
Notably, for the first time some 80 pupils also engaged in ‘Operation Ground Force' at St John's School and College for young people with severe learning difficulties, at both their Walpole Road and Seaford sites. Here their jobs included landscaping, gardening, repairing tables and benches and even painting murals.
Site Manager at St John's, Gary Brown, was delighted. "We have a very busy, but small, ground staff here; it would take us weeks to achieve what the 80 pupils from Brighton did in just this one day! Even more exciting is the fact that College pupils have now committed to continue volunteering with us on a regular basis; to have this kind of support in the longer term will truly make a difference to all here."
Mark Bell, RNLI Brighton Lifeboat helmsman, was similarly appreciative, after pupils made specially crafted wooden blocks to protect the crews' suits from damage as they dry after each rescue. "The pupils have made a significant contribution to the work of our volunteer lifeboat crew. We're all enormously grateful for the College's continued support."
First launched in 2008, "Make A Difference Day" has flourished in the meantime, becoming a hugely important event both for the College and for the local community projects it supports.
"The College is very much at the heart of the local community, says Head Master, Richard Cairns. "I am immensely proud of the dozens of our pupils who, every week, spend time visiting the elderly and supporting the homeless and disadvantaged. But MADD is a great opportunity for the entire school community to give something back to the local area; with so many of our pupils and staff involved, we really can make a huge difference in just a single day."