John O’Gaunt Students Fundraise at Christmas

JOG students fundraise

In the last week of the Christmas term 2020, students at John O’Gaunt School raised a whopping £1,119.66 worth of funds for West Berkshire Youth Counselling Service Time to Talk, as well as donating supplies and Christmas treats to West Berkshire Foodbank. Ms Debi Arden-Hunt co-ordinated the effort, saying “Our Christmas fundraisers normally focus on our own school PSA (during the Hungerford Extravaganza) and on hosting our annual Community Christmas Party for our older residents; but in no ordinary year, both of course were cancelled. Students wanted to give back to the community that supports them so well”. Phoebe Cooper, Year 7, said “Coronavirus has affected everyone in different ways. We wanted to help both minds and bodies!”

The non-uniform and Christmas Jumper Day saw students raise £373; but donating via The Good Exchange (Greenham Trust’s charity fundraising platform) on their triple funding day, meant donations tipped well over £1,000. Tammy Willsher, Charity Service Manager from Time to Talk thanked the students: “We are so pleased you chose to support us. The money you have raised will help young people just like yourselves, who are having a difficult time. This means we can help even more young people. Please also remember that if you ever need help, we will be here for you”.

Instead of bringing in tombola prizes for the PSA, students donated more than 7 enormous crates of food and treats for The West Berkshire Foodbank.

Jennifer Bartter, Hungerford’s District Centre Manager, came to thank students and chat to them about the Foodbank’s operations as they loaded up the van. Year 7’s Freya Harper, Archie Cadle and Dean Lewis-Tuttle said “everyone needs a treat at Christmas! These have been difficult times for so many people. I think we all appreciate treats and good times more now”. The red, repurposed Handibus, run by Hungerford’s CHAIN Volunteer Service, is a familiar sight locally, with co-ordinator Ted Angell usually bringing the area’s older residents to the school as guests for their Christmas Lunch and entertainment by the students. “It’s a turnaround we could never have imagined!” He said, and later confirmed that the Students’ donations had been put to good and immediate use in Hungerford.

Treat Hampers from Staff!

Not to be outdone, Teaching and Support Staff also provided luxury items in hampers for some of the students. Mrs Walker, Vice Principal said, “It’s been such a tough year for many of our young people; there have been so many disappointments and milestones missed, but they have shown such fortitude, stoicism and understanding; we drew names out of a hat and the lucky winners have either a gift for themselves or a hamper to share with their families”.

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