At around 11.45am on a muggy morning in September, Hampden House had already spruced up Whitehawk FC’s cragged yet colourful Enclosed Ground. A mere metal fence standing between the club and our own Jubilee Ground, the gate was opened and pupils welcomed as an entire horde of hardy Hampden boys set to work.
This would be just one of a staggering 40 different projects across Brighton and further into the depths of Sussex. The shifting clouds soon stationed themselves over Saddlescombe Farm, a favourite in years gone by for its breath-taking scenery, overrun flora and gracious National Trust hosts. With a near 180 pupils descending on the farm, it was the largest total headcount, with the results truly remarkable.
There were ventures east to Saltdean, enhancing the art deco feel to its Lido. From Cuckfield Cricket Club to Hove Rugby Club; Wish Park to Stanmer Park, this was a meticulously planned project that was deserving of all the laud and love the pupils heaped onto the day. Health centres, schools, lagoons and gardens all tended too, it was a dedicated day unlike any other on the school calendar.
Back in Whitehawk, a short walk from the College’s grounds, members of the Lower School were positioned high in the hills overlooking the estate, tidying up the charming allotments with the helping hands of several caring volunteers.
What struck one the most was the reaction of those that were being helped: real gratitude. This day is circled in the calendar annually for a reason. It spotlights the immediate impact of what just one day can do, but it also demonstrates how bereft of backing some organisations are.
Opening the eyes of our pupils who may rarely step out into the community is imperative. And with this being perhaps the most successful Make a Difference Day on record – as mentioned by a multitude at the day’s end – the signs for a stronger, coalesced community are there.
The foundations have been built; the relationships strengthened. Let this be marked not as a one-off, but as an emblem for what our own school stands for: kindness, confidence, curiosity.
Thank you to all who made this day so truly memorable. We are truly so proud of you all.