Chaplaincy Team Blog
Welcome to the Chaplaincy Team Blog, where you will find all the latest news and events relating to Catholic Life at St Anselm's!
January 2024: Meet our Sixth Form Charity Team!
From shoe box appeals and food drives to community tea parties and giving trees, it's no secret that our students and staff always step up to the plate when it comes to giving to charity and our school charitable events are so varied, that we manage to have a lot of fun in the process! Like all good things however, organising fun events the whole school can enjoy takes a wealth of dedication behind the scenes. Enter the Sixth Form Charity Team, a truly inspiring group of young people who give a large proportion of their time and effort to ensuring that at St Anselm's, doing good for others is something that everyone in our community can get behind.
We caught up with two members from the team, Caitlin and Tabitha, to ask them a few questions about the work of the Sixth Form Charity Team and what their involvement means to them personally.
There have been so many charity events taking place in school over the past few months. Can you give us a run-down of what has been happening?
Yes, there have definitely been a lot of events! To name a few, we have had the shoe box appeal to donate shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts to the Salvation Army, the Reverse Advent Calendar for Canterbury Food Bank, the Chocolate Orange Drive for NHS staff, the Giving Tree in aid of Rising Sun, the Poppy appeal, Wear It Pink Day in aid of Breast Cancer Research and not forgetting our Christmas Community Tea Party, where we invited people form local residential homes to join us for afternoon tea in the school library.
It's quite exhausting just thinking about it! You obviously donate a lot of your time to the Charity Team, can you tell us why it is so important to you?
Caitlin: It's definitely very personal for me. My dad is a veteran and being part of the charity team helped me to raise funds and awareness for Combat Stress, which is a cause that is very close to my heart. I knew first-hand the wonderful work the charity does, and being able to support them in return felt very special. My family were so proud of me for getting involved and so when the opportunity came to become Head Charity Prefect, I knew that it was something I wanted to do more of.
Tabitha: My experience with charity work started with NCS (National Citizen's Service) in the summer of '22. Part of the programme involves organising a charity event with a team of people. Although I had donated to charities in the past, this was the first time I had been actively involved in organising an event and it was so much fun, so I was really keen to join the Charity Team at school.
It's great to hear that helping others can be so much fun and that is evident from how much student support there is for charity events at school. It can be really hard to get people involved in charitable events, but you make it look easy! Can you tell us your secret?
Well, Miss Phillips (the school's Enrichment Co-ordinator) is really supportive and she lets people choose the charities that mean something to them. If we have a student that wants to raise money for a particular charity, we all make sure that we support them. I think that makes it inclusive, rather than just being asked to put your hand in your pocket. Also, we always try to put a twist on it to make it fun. For example, with the Reverse Advent Calendar for Canterbury Food Bank, form groups were asked to make Christmas sculptures with their donations. And for the Sixth Form Wear It Pink Day, we supported Breast Cancer Research, but we also made sure to raise awareness about Breast Cancer by including information from Coppafeel! charity, so that there was an educational aspect as well. We think it's just as important to raise awareness as well as money and by making the events fun and interactive, more people want to get involved.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge as a team?
Organising the Community Tea Party was a real step into the adult world. We were calling local residential homes to invite them and co-ordinating their travel to the school as well as preparing the food and activites. As a team, we had weekly meetings as there was a lot to think about and it was a great insight into event planning.
You both recently received the Canon Hegarty Award for your service to charity at the school's presentation evening. That must have been really special...
Yes it was, it was lovely to be acknowledged for the work we have done.
And finally, you're both in Year 13 now, and you're going to hand over the baton to the Year 12 students in the team. What would you like your legacy to be?
That we made giving to charity inclusive and fun. It's more than giving money, it's about raising awareness too and every little counts. Whether you can give 10 pence, or ten minutes of your time, that is ten times better than doing nothing.
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Thank you to both Caitlin and Tabitha for speaking so eloquently, and to all the Sixth Form Charity Team for your wonderful work.
December 2023: A month of giving
We have focused this month on remembering what the true spirit of Christmas is all about and remembering that Catholic Social Teaching asks us to care for the poor and vulnerable.
We always feel humbled by the response that we receive from staff, students and their families when ask for donations and this month there have been a lot of requests! Now that school is about to close for the Christmas holidays, it's heartwarming to look back and see the difference that our students will have made to so many people this Christmas:
1. Each tutor group collected donations for the Canterbury Food Bank's Reverse Advent Calendar campaign. Here are some photos of our Sixth Form students loading the Food Bank van:
2. One of our families asked that we donate Chocolate Oranges to thank the NHS for all the hard work they do for us all year. Once again our students and their families certainly rose to the challenge and we were able to donate several Santa's sacks, full of Chocolate Oranges to our hard-working NHS staff.
3. The Sixth Form Giving Tree. Each year the Sixth Form put up a "Giving Tree". They choose a charity to support and then put gifts under the tree to be donated. This year the charity was Rising Sun's Project Liberty. Project Liberty provides accommodation for young mothers who are homeless and have experienced domestic abuse. To find out more about the work of Rising Sun Kent, go to https://www.risingsunkent.com/
4. Mrs Richardson asked the staff if they would like to donate towards Christmas Hampers and she worked incredibly hard to put them together. The hampers were gifted to some of our families to relieve the some of the financial pressure of Christmas.
5. The Sixth Form held their Community Tea Party in the school Library. They invited residents from local care homes and afternoon tea was followed by bingo, card games and some wonderful singing by our school choir.
December 2023: Carol Service at St Thomas'
Staff and students enjoyed a wonderful Advent Carol Service at St Thomas' RC Church in Canterbury. The readers did a wonderful job and the choir sang beautifully. Such a special way to start the Christmas season.
October 2023: Introducing our new Catholic Life Ambassadors!
During our St Anselm's Feast Day Mass at Canterbury Cathedral, our new Catholic Life Ambassadors were ordained. Our Ambassadors play a very important role in the school, putting their faith onto action, by helping to organise liturgical and charitable events.
We are very grateful to the students that have accepted the role as Catholic Life Ambassadors for this academic year. Here is a picture of them receiving Canon Philip Glandfield's blessing at the Cathedral.
October 2023: Whole school Mass at Canterbury Cathedral
On Tuesday 10th October, our whole school walked to Canterbury Cathedral to celebrate Mass in thanksgiving for St Anselm's Feast Day. The service was led by Canon Philip Glandfield, Catholic Dean of Canterbury for the RC Diocese of Southwark. Canterbury Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site; we are so lucky to be able to worship together in such a beautiful, historic setting.
Huge thanks to the clergy, Cathedral staff, our guests, the alter servers, the choir (who sang beautifully), the Sixth Form stewards, the staff, the students and everyone who worked to make our Feast Day such a special occasion.
April 2023: Sixth Form Charity Team organise donation to Canterbury Food bank
In 2022-23, we have focused on the Catholic Social Teaching strand of caring for the poor and vulnerable. Our Sixth Form Charity Team have risen to the challenge and organised a sizeable donation to Canterbury Food Bank.
Every Sixth Form Tutor Group was given a box to fill and then the boxes were sorted through and collected by the Canterbury Food Bank van! Well done to our Sixth Form Charity Team and thank you to every student that donated and to the Food Bank for organising the collection!
March 2023: St Anselm's students attend CYMFed Flame 2023 at Wembley Arena!
We attended CYMFed Flame at Wembley Arena on 4 March 2023. Twelve students from our Catholic Life Ambassadors attended with two teachers. There were 8000 people at Wembley that day, so the atmosphere was electric! We enjoyed music from One Hope Project, Adenike, Faith Child and Guvna B. We also heard talks from Cafod, Archbishop Tim Costelloe SDB, David Wells and Cardinal Tagle. Finally we had the opportunity to reflect and enjoy Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament let by Cardinal Vincent Nichols. It was a great day!
March 2023: Our first CYMFed Faith In Action students receive their Bronze Awards!
We are delighted to announce that our first students have received their Bronze Faith in Action awards!
The Faith in Action Award encourages young people through recognising, rewarding and celebrating their active faith lived out through service and reflection. The Award helps them connect their life and faith in a tangible manner.
In journeying through the Award, young people should experience a deepening of their relationship with God and find themselves exploring that relationship. It is hoped that through their relationship and action, others will see God's love through them.
Mr Locke, Head of Stein House, presented 34 students with their certificates and then we enjoyed a celebratory tea party!