Felsted School is itself a charity (a status that appears set to remain into the near future, despite Labour's stated intention to add VAT to fees). However, I am sure that we can all appreciate that attending a school like Felsted provides a huge range of opportunities for our students, and with those opportunities comes responsibility. In recognition of this, the school asks the students to work to support house and school charities.
This morning in Chapel, we heard from the Felsted Charity Team about the charities that Felsted has chosen to support. These range from local to national to international. Internationally we are supporting education, nutrition and life opportunities in India and beyond (through Magic Bus); in Malawi (through the Sparkle Foundation); and in Uganda (through Teach Uganda). The longest standing link among these is with Magic Bus, a charity founded in 1999 by OF Matthew Spacie, while the Sparkle Foundation was also started by an OF, this time Sarah Brook (who was a student in Garnetts).
More locally, we continue to work to support Chess Homeless, Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, Farleigh Hospice and Young Minds, as well as the Felsted Mission (particularly through Garnetts and Windsor's). The Mission was founded well over 100 years ago, when the then Headmaster of Felsted was made aware of the poor but developing area of Royal Docks. This led to the founding of the Felsted School Mission Association, which provided funding for a small brick and iron mission building in Custom House (1887). By 1891, the Mission had outgrown this home and over the next decade funds were raised to open a new church, designed by OF JEK Cutts, and opened on Ascension Day 1902.
We are very proud to continue to support this charity, and we are currently working hard across all of our Tutor groups to provide Christmas gifts for the Ascension Church (Project Christmas Cheer!) to distribute to those for whom Christmas might not otherwise mean much happiness and joy.
I have also been incredibly proud to see the whole community come together in the last fortnight to provide donations to support the Braintree Food Bank, with as many as 28 crates of goods being donated from Felsted. Thank you to all who have contributed, and especially to Rose Walker, who has spearheaded the project here at Felsted.
There are many other initiatives that take place at Felsted to recognise ways in which we can make a difference, within our own community, and more widely and I am very grateful to all those who find the time and resources to support our charitable initiatives. If you would like to read more about Charity at Felsted, please do click on this link. If you have ideas that you would like us to consider for future fund-raising, please do get in touch with The Chaplain, Rev'd Little (firstname.lastname@example.org) who will look at those alongside the pupil charity team.
As we approach Christmas, we have much that we can be grateful for. I hope that Felsted will continue to inspire future generations to support others who can benefit from that help, like Matthew Spacie and Sarah Brook.