We were thrilled to talk to Toluwani A (Upper Sixth, Priestley) to hear about the impact she is making, along with a few of her peers, to help raise money for Homeless Action in Barnet charity.
Can you give us some information about the charity and why you have chosen to raise money for them?
A year and a half ago, Joshua Coombes visited us to tell us about his charity, Do Something For Nothing, which involves giving homeless people haircuts. He discussed the relationships you can build with them and how little things like that are important. After being inspired by Joshua’s visit, I started thinking about something I wanted to do in school to support.
I wanted to create care packages of items to donate. As Head Girl, I was able to discuss with Senior Staff members how I could make this happen, with the help of a few other pupils. I also talked to Mrs Sanchez, who wanted to organize more charitable events.
Last term, we held a bake sale and wrote a letter asking for donations in the Friday Newsletter; this effort helped raise money. We successfully raised £1000 and aim to purchase sleeping bags and socks to add to the care packages.
Regarding Joshua Coombes talk, did he discuss specific experiences or stories that left a lasting impression on you?
Joshua Coombe’ talk focused on his charity, Do Something For Nothing. He shared his experiences and what led him to start the charity, emphasizing the importance of small acts of kindness.
Would you be able to go into more depth about homelessness and why you think this charity would be more impactful?
Homelessness is a big issue, with 1 in 10 people affected. I often think people give a pound because it makes them feel better, to ease their conscience. But I like supporting this charity because it’s not about personal benefit; it’s solely about helping others. It feels good to be part of something that’s making a real change.
Why did you choose to make the charity pupil-led instead of teacher or parent-led, and how do you believe this decision influenced the level of engagement and passion among the students?
I wanted the charity to come from us, the pupils, rather than being directed from teachers. The importance and sentiment often dissipate when it’s teacher or parent-led, making people care less. I believe having it pupil-led makes people think more and fosters a sense of passion, because, as we get older, we become more involved in school, and teachers give us more responsibility. When pupils run events, there’s a genuine commitment and enthusiasm.
Did you learn anything new throughout the charity, particularly in your research on homelessness rates?
Yes, I learned shocking statistics about homelessness, especially in well-off areas where rates were surprisingly high. It opened my eyes to the issue, and I became more aware of the problem’s extent.
Certain areas in London, including gentrified ones, had unexpectedly high homelessness rates. I think our charity, regardless of its size, can make a difference by directly helping those in need, such as providing sleeping bags, and raising awareness about the issue.
Do you plan to continue being involved in similar initiatives in the future?
Yes, I plan to continue similar initiatives next year and at university. I hope to engage with social activist or philanthropy groups to contribute positively.
Tolu A (Upper Sixth, Priestley)
Alice H (Remove, Cedars)
Ariella A (Remove, Priestley)
Evie K (Remove, Weymouth)
Evie N (Remove, Priestley)
Hattie K (Remove, Weymouth)
Jack S (Remove, Ridgeway)
Lucille C (Remove, McClure)
Mimi J (Remove, Murray)
Sophia H (Remove, Winfield)
Sophie A (Remove, Weymouth)
Zoe R (Remove, School)