Local five year old, Raffi Barcella has turned his hand to fundraising during lockdown and to date has raised over £200 for the Chiltern Centre on Greys Road. He is raising the money by selling bespoke pieces of art to friends and family and currently has 6 pieces commissioned in addition to the ones he has already sold. The topical art in rainbow colours with messages such as ‘Let’s Stay Home’ and ‘Love’ emblazoned across them have captured the imagination of friends and family who have paid him up to £50 each for a painting, with every penny going directly to the Chiltern Centre.
Raffi chose to fundraise for the Chiltern Centre as his mother, Harriet Barcella, works there. He says “I just thought that the people who go to the Chiltern Centre must be having a hard time with this horrid bug. Mummy is talking a lot about how to keep making money even though we’re not allowed to see each other and so I thought I could help. When I could go to school, we walked past the [Lemongrove] art gallery every day and I really liked seeing what they had in the window, I just thought I could sell my art too. I know nobody can come into our house at the moment so I put my art on a table outside and it all sold straight away. So now Mummy has told her friends and they are buying it so quickly I have run out. But that’s OK because they tell me what they want and I am going to make more as quickly as I can.”
Raffi, who attends Badgemore Primary School has been encouraged by his teachers to pursue his charitable project which combines so many elements of learning as well as supporting the local community. Tim Hoskins, head teacher at Badgemore Schools comments, “At Badgemore Primary School, we promote growth mindsets and teach the children that they can make a difference in our world. I am proud that Raffi has taken this message to heart and persevered through in this challenging time to make a difference in our community.”
The Chiltern Centre on Greys Road supports young people with disabilities – empowering them to make the most out of life whilst supporting their families with the day to day challenges that caring for a young person with disabilities bring. Harriet, Raffi’s mum and Marketing and Communications Manager at the Centre says, “Raffi has grown up meeting and knowing people with different learning disabilities and he seems to be able to understand that this must be a very difficult time for them. Of course at the moment, he also knows that the fundraising events that I am normally dashing off to, can’t happen. This project was completely his own idea and he was spurred on both by the support of the school, and by the fact that his first batch of paintings sold so quickly. Clearly fundraising is in the blood! I have to say I’m really proud of what he is doing. It’s not always been easy juggling work and homeschooling so it’s rather nice that the two have collided in this way and I am really appreciative of the school who have seen all the amazing positive learning opportunities that it brings and encouraged Raffi to keep working at it.”
Paul Barrett, Chair of Trustees at the Chiltern Centre says, “We want to say a big thank you to Raffi for all his hard work, and to all those who have so generously supported his project. With traditional fundraising activities currently suspended, it support like this from our community that will pull us through this difficult time. We are so grateful to all those who have continued to think of us and support us in all sorts of varied ways from this to our very successful TwoPointSix Challenge and much more in between.”
Raffi is still taking commissions in exchange for donations and if you would like a piece you can contact Harriet on firstname.lastname@example.org. Find out more or donate at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/