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News > School News > Community Spirit - alive and well at Roedean

Community Spirit - alive and well at Roedean

A look into the exceptional community spirit being shown by Roedeanians, current and past, during the Coronavirus Pandemic

12 May 2020
School News
OR Harriet Hunt with her husband
OR Harriet Hunt with her husband
As we are all too well aware, the Coronavirus pandemic has had a far-reaching and global impact on nearly every corner of our lives. But during this time, one thing has shone brightly through - community spirit, and this is something we can be particularly proud of as members of the Roedean community.

Roedeanians, both current and former, have been doing incredible work to ensure their local communities are supported through this time. Many are doing this as part of their work in healthcare, and other essential services, including at least one Old Roedeanian that we are aware of who has temporarily returned to work as a doctor, having retired 6 years ago. But many are also carrying out exceptional work as volunteers.

The current girls have shown incredible spirit during the lockdown. Olivia (Year 7/U3) has been reading to children in her local neighbourhood every day. Charlotte (Year 10/L5) has been helping her elderly neighbours by doing shopping for them. A group of girls in Year 11 (U5), led by Olivia and Megan, have written a short book entitled "No One Around!" for the children in our partner schools, St Mark's and Deepdene. Having written the book, the girls then enlisted their friends to help illustrate, and film a narration of it. You can watch the video here. We are hoping to be able to print some copies to sell for charity, so watch this space!

Before the Easter holidays, the girls were asked to send messages for the residents at the Blind Veterans. Pupils in Years 8 (L4) and 12 (6.1) have been visiting our neighbours there throughout the school year, but are of course now unable to, at a time when their need for company is greater than ever. Many of them responded to the call to keep this contact going, despite the lockdown and sent messages for them, but one in particular went even further, Hettie (Year 7) recorded a lovely message and played piano for them. Maureen, one of the residents, sent this in response: "It was very pleasant indeed to hear your message and piano playing. It is delightful to know that young people are being very responsible and helpful at this time of crisis – well done, and keep up the good work, Hettie."

Many girls have also been taking up sporting challenges to raise money for charity. Girls in both Years 9 and 10 (U4 and L5) have been taking part in the Run for Heroes challenge. This sees them running 5km, donating £5, and nominating 5 others to take part. The global challenge originally aimed to raise £5,000, but instead has raised nearly £5.5 million! It has been brilliant seeing so many Roedean girls take part in this - and of course nominating other Roedean girls!

And, it doesn't stop there, Izzy, Alice, Nia and Amelia organised for their hockey team to take part in the 2.6 challenge. Started by Just Giving as a way to help charities replace some of the income they have lost through events such as the London Marathon being cancelled, the challenge encourages participants to raise money using the theme 2.6. The girls and their team took part in a whole week of activities: Collectively running 26.2 miles, 26 keepie-uppies on hockey sticks, holding a plank for 26 seconds, 26 squats, 26 netball shots, 26 lunges and on the final day 26 minutes of aerobic activity. Amelia said: "We thought that this would be a great way to keep fit, have some fun together, despite being in isolation, and to raise some money for an excellent cause."

And it's not just the girls, their parents have been getting involved too, with a group of Year 7 parents together raising £750 to buy chocolates for staff at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, and local GPs surgeries.

This spirit of giving, and helping the communities, is clearly one that has been instilled in previous generations of Roedeanians as well, we are sure there must be many more stories out there, but these three stood out for us:

OR Aleeyah Amanda Ali (No. 2, 1987-91), lives in Trinidad and Tobago, and was heavily involved in charity work long before Covid-19 came along. When Trinidad and Tobago went in to lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the effect was catastrophic, with many families losing what little income they had. Aleeyah stepped in, and since then has been working tirelessly to raise donations, and distribute food hampers and essential supplies to the poorest and most in need families in her country. 

OR Harriet Hunt (Miller, No. 4, 1996-2001) is married to an anaesthetist, and so has witnessed first hand the emotional toll on those looking after Coronavirus patients. Inspired by this, she has set up Duty to Care, with the mission to provide virtual therapy and wellbeing sessions for NHS workers, to enable them to improve and sustain their mental health and wellbeing. Through fundraising, they are covering the costs of linking NHS workers with leading wellbeing practitioners, such as CBT Therapists, Psychotherapists, Meditation Experts, Nutritional Therapsts and Personal Trainers. You can read more about their work, donate, register as an NHS worker or volunteer as a therapist via their website: www.dutytocare.info/.

Our final OR, follows on perfectly from Harriet, and is a great example of how amazing the OR network an be. Miztli Rose Neville (Cadena, No. 4, 2000-2007), normally works as a performer, writer and comedian. But, during lockdown, together with her friend Lindsey Huebner, she is running daily lunchtime online yoga classes, via Instagram. The classes focus on promoting mental wellbeing through movement and meditation. They are free, but optional donations are welcome, and each week they are spotlighting different charities. Earlier this month, after having connected with Harriet on Facebook, the featured charity was Duty to Care. You can find the yoga classes on Instagram here.

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