The Aldworth Partnership is an umbrella term for the all outreach work that Reading Blue Coat undertakes. It is a pupil-led initiative, which aims to engage every student with community service in some capacity, and leave a legacy of service for future RBC students to follow. The philosophy underpinning the partnership is that the work is transformational and that both parties grow in character because of the relationship. The School raises money to support the Aldworth Partnership, but that is secondary to the transformational endeavours in which the students and staff are engaged.
The activities that our pupils participate in form the base of a pyramid, as all students and many schools can be involved in this relationship. The pyramid is in three levels:
- Over-the-fence service, which any student can become involved with, e.g. Primary School Outreach, Community Action, House charities.
- Individual ventures and school projects, which involve smaller groups working together e.g. a sleep out to raise money for homeless charities.
- Overseas service, which involves the most fundraising and planning and is the most life-changing, e.g. Ghana Project, Worldwide Expeditions, Brass for Africa tour to Uganda. Overseas service is at the peak of the pyramid; just a few students have the opportunity to engage in this level, and it is tremendously powerful.
Our Director of the Aldworth Partnership, Mrs Gemma Mitchell, plans to develop and foster a sense of duty in all students to help build a local and global community that understands the importance of helping people from all walks of life. Mrs Mitchell hopes to empower all students to be proactive in their local community, and to help them to understand that each and every one of them has a talent or a skill that they can share with other people to bring joy and education. In turn, Blue Coat pupils will also have the opportunity to learn from others and this will help them further develop their interpersonal skills: an essential part of life.
Inspired by Wokingham charity Freely Fruity, Mrs Gemma Mitchell and Miss Barbie Truman decided that the School could help to support the School’s local foodbank by growing our own produce here at Reading Blue Coat. So, at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, Miss Truman was given the go-ahead to build the Community Garden close to our Grounds, Maintenance and Activities Centre. With the assistance of our hard-working Grounds Department, six raised beds were installed and subsequently filled with mulch, compost and soil.
In their activities sessions, pupils throughout the School helped to plant, water and feed the garden, with the view of growing fresh fruit and vegetables to donate to Share Wokingham, the School’s local foodbank. The first harvest included courgettes, squash and cabbages as well as sweet peas and other flowers.