Winter Warmers at St. Anthony’s School for Girls

From care home visits to book donations, this winter, pupils at Hampstead’s St. Anthony’s School for Girls have embraced the spirit of giving.

Several charitable initiatives took place at St. Anthony’s over the last few months, encouraging the girls to think about others less fortunate than themselves – as well as helping them to support their local community.

Wrapping up warm against the cold, Years 2 to 6 accompanied their teachers to the nearby Sonesta Nursing Home. While COVID-19 restrictions meant the girls were not allowed in, they were able to entertain residents by singing to them outside their windows. Sonesta’s manager said “The residents were upset that the children had to stand outside but they absolutely loved it. It made their day.”

Pupils were also asked to bring in unwanted books that could be passed to the Children’s Book Project. Deputy head, Raffaella Merolla explains: “Across the UK, one in four disadvantaged children own fewer than ten books, while one in eight have none. Our girls were so generous in their donations of books, meaning we were able to donate 200 titles to this initiative.”

In addition, Miss Merolla, along with Friends of St. Anthony’s, had all pupils involved in the school’s Giving Tree for CARIS Camden Families, which saw gifts purchased for 65 children who spent Christmas 2020 in Camden hostels. Each pupil was buddied up with a child and wrote a card to accompany a gift bag. Year 3 pupil, Zoe says: “I was really pleased that the book going to my buddy was George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl, he’s one of my favourite authors!”

St. Anthony’s pupils also enjoyed sweet treats after school, tucking into a charity bake sale in aid of Magic Breakfast, which raised over £200. Magic Breakfast works with almost 500 UK schools to provide healthy breakfasts to pupils who would otherwise go hungry.

Headteacher Donal Brennan says: “I’m so proud of the hard work and exemplary behaviour of our girls. Pupils have adapted smoothly between school life and remote learning and our Year 6 girls have confidently sat their 11+ entrance exams under current pandemic restrictions. Yet, despite the ongoing challenges around all of us, our pupils have engaged enthusiastically, willingly and happily with our numerous charitable endeavours, thus supporting some great causes and reaching out to the wider community.”

Now the school is looking forward with renewed vigour, optimism and a willingness to embrace the challenges that may come its way. St. Anthony’s School for Girls prides itself on its adaptability, resilience and the ability to respond positively to the world around it.

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