Students from Eden Girls’ Schools in Coventry were named the winners of the Goldsmiths’ Company Awards for Community Engagement, which celebrate and reward the extraordinary range of activities schools undertake to make their local communities a better place to live.
Schools from Yorkshire to Kent journeyed to the magnificent surroundings of Goldsmiths’ Hall in the City of London to present their charitable, voluntary and community-based projects, touching on themes of national significance, such as dementia care, homelessness, literacy, and the environment.
Students from Eden Girls’ School received a gold medal (designed and donated by Fattorini & Co) plus a cheque for £3,000 to help extend and deepen the impact of their project.
The runners-up, from Leeds East Academy, received a silver medal and £1,000.
The winning students were praised for their work on inter-faith education and collaboration which started during lockdown providing food to the homeless.
This led to the development of a peace garden which brings together pupils from Church of England, Sikh and Catholic schools to reinforce inter-faith learning and address misconceptions of Islam.
According to Judith Cobham-Lowe OBE, who chairs the awards: “The peace garden project will strengthen and deepen understanding of different faiths that will provide an enriching social legacy for schoolchildren well into the future. Fellow judges and I are confident they can continue to deepen and grow this project to benefit the many faiths and people of Coventry.”
The awards were launched by Goldsmiths in 2018 to ensure the often-unrecognised school-wide community activities receive the profile they deserve.
Over the past 18 months the pandemic has highlighted that schools, sitting at the centre of their communities, are much more than just places of study.
Last year’s winners included a Northwest Sixth Form working – at great personal risk – with young men trafficked into human slavery, and a South London school that made it their job to teach pupils in their primary feeder schools what to do when someone is stabbed. Everyone in the team had experienced knife violence.
Featured image by Paul Read