Municipal Charities Play Their Part in Supporting Schools in Pandemic World

With world stage struggling during the pandemic over the last year, we have all had our part to play. The Henley Municipal Charities entered stage right to support the local primary schools, secondary school and Henley College in a year that has brought challenges and the Charities are delighted to have assisted and overcome, bringing happiness and encouragement back to the educational setting.

Just prior to the pandemic the Educational Fund awarded Gillotts School £750 towards their much needed new stage curtains. With the old ones torn and well worn, the grant made it possible to replace the curtains during the lockdown so when the Year 11 students taking their GCSE Drama exams returned to face to face education they stepped proudly back centre stage and into the well-earned limelight. Headteacher Ms Catharine Darnton said “We are so grateful for the support of Henley Municipal Charities. School funding is always tight but it makes such a difference to students feeling valued, if they work in a well-maintained environment. We are a school that wants to look well cared for, as well as caring well for our students. Our smart new stage curtains help us to do just that!”

During much of the last educational year students, families and teachers have been miserable with no other medicine but hope in reaching out for much needed support to
connect pupils to a fast track steep uphill learning curve staying in touch through electronic lessons and learning. With such strong reasons the Henley Municipal Charities brought about strong actions where primary schools asked for critical support. Sacred Heart School received £3,000 towards the purchase of new Chrome books and Valley Road School received £1,000 towards refurbishing computer equipment. With the equipment being assigned to families to enable their children to keep learning and receiving lessons electronically at home; now face to face teaching has returned to the classroom the computer equipment will be used throughout the schools. Sacred Heart Headteacher Ms Rachel Gavin said “We were extremely grateful for the donation towards our chromebooks, It meant that we were able to provide laptops for every family who needed them during the lockdown so that children were able to access our remote learning offer. Now that all the children are back at school the chromebooks are in use everyday across the whole school for us in our computing lessons.” and Mr Tim Coulson added “Everyone at Valley Road School thanks the generosity of the Henley Municipal Charities for their incredible donations towards both Ipads and a charging trolley for the school. They are to be used in the infant department and have been set up with all the appropriate apps for the children to use in their work. They are already making a huge difference!”

With young students returning to local schools and colleges to continue their face to face education they are still being asked to keep their distance to ensure all’s well that ends well. As students step into the brave new world after the tempestuous year the Educational Fund has proven that words are not deeds. Listening to the frustrations Henley College have experienced in providing students with sufficient outdoor space between lectures the Henley Municipal Charities have awarded a grant of £10,000 towards providing outdoor seating furniture for the Deanfield and Rotherfield sites. The grant will also support the creation of a quiet room for those students who require a slow pace at first to climb the steep hills to believing it is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.

The Henley Municipal Charities are the working title of three small and two larger charities; that together are administered under a Scheme approved by the Charity Commissioners in 1984.

From investment income the Charities are able to award grants to the local primary schools, Gillotts School, Henley College and small grants to individuals of limited means who need help with their education, such as funding the purchase of books or buying tools as an apprentice. The beneficiaries of the Charities must be resident in the town of Henley on Thames or the villages of Rotherfield Greys and Bix.

On this occasion grants have been awarded to schools, however the Charities can also award grants to individuals of limited means who need help with their education from primary school to university or other educational establishments including apprenticeships. Financial assistance can be granted in a variety of ways including clothing, tools, instruments or books to assist such persons to pursue their education (including the study of music and other arts), sports equipment, to undertake travel in furtherance thereof, or to prepare for or enter a profession, trade, occupation or service on leaving school, university, or other educational establishment.

Applicants must be attending or have attended primary schools Trinity, Badgemore, Sacred Heart, Valley Road, Shiplake, Peppard, Nettlebed, Henley College or Gillotts Academy, be in education and up to a maximum age of 25 years. Applications must not be eligible for local authority funding and must be of direct benefit to the individual or pupil.

If you wish to apply or seek further information please contact the Charities office at info@henleymcharities.com or call 01491 412360 requesting an application form which will be treated in the strictest of confidence. The Board of Trustees will consider all applications received meeting the criteria, taking into account aspects supporting the applications. Grants will be made according to their merits and perceived advantage to the pupils involved.

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