The staff and pupils of St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School in Hatfield, have won an award for setting up a foodbank in the entrance to the school. They received the Diocese of Westminster Primary School Social Outreach Award at a virtual celebration last Wednesday evening (2nd June).
The foodbank, which is open every weekday from 7am – 7pm also provides school uniforms and books. A local women’s rugby club has donated hygiene products with the aim of ending period poverty. The permanent presence of the foodbank helps staff and students remember that not all the children have their basic needs met, and enables them to focus on what is important as a community.
Before Christmas, as part of a letter writing session in class, a child wrote to Santa saying that, as she had tried to be much better this year, could she get a present?
It was discovered that her mother lives with “no recourse to public funds” – meaning she gets no government support – and can barely afford the essentials let alone Christmas presents. The School community stepped up and were able to provide Christmas presents for 70 children along with support from external charities, and ensure that those who needed could do their Christmas “shopping” at the foodbank. The same mother said that she felt the school foodbank gave her dignity, as she could choose what she wanted to feed her family.
Mairead Waugh, the headteacher of St Philip Howard Primary School says that “working together to provide the foodbank has strengthened our community as a whole, as we work towards equality”.
On receiving the award she said, “On behalf of St Philip Howard School community, thank you for recognising our hard work. We are delighted to be able to play a part in supporting those in need and helping our pupils to understand their part in helping to create a fairer and more just society.”