Each year group of Tonbridge boys are encouraged to get involved in key charitable events throughout the year.
The Sleep Out (in aid of Porchlight charity)
The first weekend of the summer terms sees TCA encouraging the boys in the Novi to experience what it is like to ‘sleep rough’ for a night, enhancing their awareness of the experience of young people less fortunate than themselves, whilst raising funds for Portchlight, a charity that helps the young homeless within Kent (http://www.porchlight.org.uk).
Young people in local clubs, scout groups and other schools share the experience which is held in the school Quad where, for one night, a version of the infamous ‘cardboard city’ is constructed by those taking part.
In 2012 a record £7,000+ was raised on that one night (in addition to a month’s rainfall making the evening very real…)
SEP (Social Entrepreneurs Project)
In their second year in the school, boys are invited to take part in the Social Entrepreneurs Project. Recently, the projects undertaken by the second years have been supervised by sixth formers (many of whom do Enconomics or Business Studies at A level) with groups being established on a House basis. Each group of 5 or more boys is given £50 ‘seed’ capital, and encouraged to set up a small business or money-making scheme. All profits from their endeavours, which range from running dances and discos to selling original artwork, from making and selling Christmas decorations using recycled materials, to running House-based tuck shops in the evening, goes to a charity of the group’s choice, more often than not, the charity with which that house has established a long term relationship.
This scheme invariably raises between over £3,000 annually and one the boys who took part in the scheme very successfully four years ago, Toby McBride, has been asked by HopeHIV (the charity we used to support annually when we first started this scheme) to become their student ambassador to further promote the SEP in schools. In future it is intended to build this work in Tonbridge towards an inter-school ‘Dragons Den’ style competition, the team with the most imaginative and/or successful idea being rewarded with a further sum for their charity.
The school recognises that supporting charities is a pivotal aspect of the way it expresses its social responsibility. Contributing to charitable causes is, quite rightly seen as a worthy act, but it is very much part of TCA policy (in keeping with the spirit of Red Nose Day) to have occasions when this can also be fun.
On one day each year in the Michaelmas term, boys make a contribution of at least £1 to Breast Cancer Awareness charities which entitles them to wear items of pink clothing on the designated school day. Over the years this day has become a joyous fancy dress celebration of their commitment to the cause with many pupils now opting for a complete costume in the pink. In the process, well over £1,000 is raised annually.
The Tonbridge Community Action concert for the elderly takes place at the end of January each year. Up to 250 local senior citizens from all parts of Tonbridge and its environs are ferried to the school by volunteer staff members where they are welcomed by the Wednesday afternoon TCA boys into Big School. The concert is supported by the Tonbridge and Malling Mayor and is performed by the boys, the music being a mix of classical pieces and west end show songs. The evening usually ends with a sing song but not before the boys have served tea, coffee and biscuits/cakes to our guests who are returned home by those same staff volunteers.
The school calendar sees two Field Days day per year, in October and June. On these days there are no lessons and about half the school are occupied by CCF or other activities.
Building on the legacy of our Olympiad Community Day in 2012, The June Field Day is an opportunity for Lower Sixth TCA boys to host an ever expanding inter-Primary School Athletics competition. During the Autumn Field Day we have done a wide range of activities: gardens have been transformed, ponds dug, nature trails created, pirate-themed literacy days supported, sports training and concerts delivered as our boys have visited local primary and secondary schools, including those which support children with additional needs. Others have hosted groups from local Care Homes for the Elderly and visitors from the Scott’s Project, socialising over coffee before ending the morning by attending a concert in the chapel.
Some of the events from our TCA archive:
Tonbridge Has Talent
Every February for the past 5 years the school has hosted a local Tonbridge Has Talent competition, inviting acts from over a dozen local Secondary Schools to take part, with acts as diverse as dancers, singers, magicians and comedians. Organised by a committee of Tonbridge School boys and Weald of Kent Grammar School pupils, the event has become a popular feature of the local Arts programme and raises over £,2000 for charity. This sum is usually split between three charities, at least one of which is always a small local organisation.
If you know of a local project which might be interested in the involvement of Tonbridge boys, on a one-off or regular basis, please contact us on TCA@tonbridge-school.org