Make a Difference Day
At the heart of College life is an expectation that all pupils will develop a keen awareness of the needs of others, and - crucially - a firm belief that, whatever their age, they can make a difference right now.
First launched in 2008, "MADD" has become 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 many 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 every one of our pupils and staff involved, we really can make a huge difference in just a single day."
Make a Difference Day takes place every September, and sees every Brighton College pupil and staff member engage in over 100 activities across the city and Sussex. Whether undertaking maintenance work at St Dunstan's centre for blind ex-servicemen and women or washing protective suits for the RNLI at Brighton marina; marching and collecting in support of Breast Cancer Awareness or sorting stock for the Martlets Hospice and other charity shops; more than 900 pupils work tirelessly to support a diverse range of projects within the community. Indeed, picking litter from the beaches and roads of Kemp Town as part of 'The Big Tidy Up' - keep Britain Tidy Campaign - always prove to be popular with members of the local community, as are the cakes baked for and distributed to elderly residents and A and E staff down the road. A number of conservation projects are also supported, most notably Stanmer Park Permaculture and the Stanmer Fork It and Dig it, where pupils help to clear shrub and prepare vegetable beds.
In one of the many new initiatives, pupils this year visited the Eastbourne Food Bank, where they spent time sorting donations and serving the homeless community. This had a lasting impact on the pupils involved, and they returned to make leaflets to raise awareness of the poverty on their doorstep. Old friends were also revisited, with over 50 pupils descending on St John's College in both Brighton and Seaford to help paint, garden and create resources.
A launch-pad for the year ahead
This day is very much the launch pad for a year of support and interaction. The day is organised by the Houses, and there are subsequent visiting speakers to House assemblies and often much of the House fund-raising goes to support their MADD charity link. Those involved in Community Service regularly use Make a Difference Day to spend a longer, more sustained time wtih their partner charity as a way of forging closer relationships for the year ahead.