Sedbergh Hardship Fund
From our Principal, Andrew Fleck:
Alongside the whole international community, we find ourselves at a time of almost unprecedented challenge within living memory.
Every day our screens are filled with images and information about the progression and devastating consequences of Covid-19. At the forefront of our minds are those who are suffering or bereaved, and the inspiring, selfless work of those who care for the sick in hospitals, care homes and every other location.
Schools have been touched by the virus as well and you will know that they had been closed by the Government except to the children of key workers required to fight the impact of the COVID-19 virus and maintain infrastructure.
We were fortunate to have early insight into the process of closure and remote teaching through our work with Rong Qiao Sedbergh School in Fuzhou, China. Their location is in an area of minimal impact but nonetheless they went through the closure process ahead of us and gave us valuable insight into the challenges it presents. It follows that we were well prepared when pupils returned home on March 20th.
Despite the closure, virtual lessons began in the final week of the Lent Term, to positive feedback. Pupils have been equipped with the necessary resources to continue to study and we will begin Summer Term in the same virtual learning environment. In the long run, this seems certain to herald new styles of teaching and education which we are excited to pursue to their full potential.
Alongside the clinical impact, many within our School and local community will suffer significant financial impact and we must turn to the needs of those who need our support.
The School and the Foundation have established a Hardship Fund for the benefit of pupils, parents, OSs and members of our local community. This fund has three main areas of focus.
We will use available resources to:
- Support Sedbergh families in need of financial relief
- Upscale our community support
- Work with local authorities to ensure any transferable skills we have in our community can be used for the greater good
Supporting Sedbergh Families in Need of Financial Relief
Financial hardship will threaten the continuity of education of some pupils at Sedbergh School and Casterton, Sedbergh Prep School. Fees have been reduced significantly for the Summer Term, but we have already had calls for temporary assistance from a number of families who have seen their livelihoods vanish almost overnight.
We should not turn away from their calls for help or apologise to these families that we did not have the funds to make a small grant that will provide some security in these uncertain times.
Upscaling our Community Support
For some years, the School has provided a local ‘meals on wheels’ service, and wider support in the area to those who need a helping hand through a range of community ventures led by Sedbergh School staff and pupils who give generously of their free time in extraordinary ways. We are immediately increasing our provision and will work alongside other members of the community to provide assistance to those most affected and isolated.
Working with local authorities to ensure any transferable skills we have in our community can be used for the greater good
We have always worked quietly and diligently to assist our key services, particularly those which care for our elderly and vulnerable. We are working hard to develop a framework to support our local NHS and other agencies which may require resources to fight the spread and impact of the virus. In recent days, the NHS have asked for our help in the production of face shields, which we are able to do in our DT labs, but sourcing the raw materials is an unanticipated cost.
"As we seek to protect one another from harm, we should similarly reach out as a Sedberghian community to help those who find themselves in particularly challenging circumstances.
Our Hardship Fund is like nothing we have ever raised funds for before, and something we should be proud to support at whatever level we possibly can.
Our people make Sedbergh thrive, and our people need our help."
Jeremy Bedford, Chairman of Sedbergh School Foundation (H '86)
People lie at the heart of our mission and this is a moment when they need our collective support.
The School is making every effort to provide support in the community and we take this opportunity to ask that you stand alongside us by donating to this work and extending our capacity to help those in need. And if we can help you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the School through the Foundation or Old Sedberghian Club.
"Sedbergh School and Casterton would not exist without its pupils and parents, without the many people and businesses in the local community, and indeed without the support of Old Sedberghians around the world. Many will be affected by present circumstances. Some will be in need of support, financial or otherwise. The OS Club therefore wholeheartedly endorses the Hardship Fund which aims to help those who are struggling to cope in these difficult times. If you feel you can help, if you are able to support the Fund, then please follow the guidance below. Stay safe, and thank you."
Jan Van der Velde, Chairman of the OS Club (L '82)
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY FUND
BY CHEQUE, CARD, DIRECT DEBIT VIA POST
Please download the form below and make sure you mark your cheque and donation form 'Hardship Fund'.
BY ONLINE GIVING
Please click on the button below,where you will be able to fill in a short form and donate online.
GIFT YOUR SCHOLARSHIP
Many of our young Sedberghians hold a variety of scholarship awards to recognise their achievement in a range of fields upon joining the School. Parents of pupils currently in the School may wish to consider gifting their academic, sporting or all-rounder scholarship to the Hardship Fund for one term as a quick and easy way of donating to this critical cause through your termly bill.
If you would like to gift your scholarship to a pupil in financial hardship, or to our broader community projects, please get in touch with the Foundation Office who will be able to help.
If you are an OS or Past Parent who would like to Gift a Scholarship to a pupil, you can do so via the two methods above, with the amount of your choice.
Any donation you feel able to make will absolutely make a difference to the services we can provide to our community and the individuals who make Sedbergh the extraordinary place it is.
All of us at the School send you our very best wishes that you stay safe and well in the coming weeks.