Courageous Advocacy

When you drop a stone into water it creates a ripple, after ripple, after ripple. We want our faith to have the same effect.

Our hope is for our school community to be inspired to go on and change the lives of others locally, nationally and globally. In essence, we want every member of our community to become an advocate of change.

The ’ripple’ of courageous advocacy started in 2012 when the Wilfridian Award was launched. The intention behind the award was to develop habits that we believe we need to foster in our students, such as regular reading, alongside participating in extracurricular activities and carrying out acts of service. As part of this Award, each student is set a challenge to raise money for the local charity, Blackburn Foodbank.
To date, we have raised over £37,000 for Blackburn Foodbank, with most of this coming from the efforts of Year 7 students involved in the Wilfridian Award. However, this is not accumulated by apathetic giving.

Before each student starts their challenge for the Wilfridian, a volunteer speaks to each class about the work of Foodbank. They explain why clients attend and give the opportunity for our students to ask questions and understand the organisation they are about to give their time and energy to.
We took a few Key Stage 4 students to visit the Foodbank and see for themselves some of the inner workings. They got to ask questions, role play in a client engagement exercise and pack food parcels based on specific criteria.

"I think it inspires hope in people that there is help - there are always people to support you and you can have a hope for the future."
- Freyja (Y10)
Learn more about Blackburn Foodbank on their website
... the ripple continues ...
The impact of these seeds of courageous advocacy, sown over the years have taken root and impacted not only our local neighbours, but also the students in other schools. In particular, 5 students in Rwanda who are sponsored through Compassion.
What is Compassion?
Compassion is an international organisation committed to releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. Through sponsorship, children are given life-changing support including food, education and health-checks. Learn more about sponsorship.
As an Academy, we sponsor 5 children, with each one belonging to one of the Houses in our House System:
“Sponsor a child, change a family. If we sponsor children, in the same area, we can change a community. Change a community and we can impact a region. Impact enough regions, we can change a nation.”
How it Started
In November 2017, 2 students visited Rwanda with their church. They were inspired by what they saw and asked if we, as an Academy, could sponsor a child. Our Principal challenged them to think bigger and suggested we sponsored 5 children, one child per house. The ripple began. In the summer of 2018 we sponsored Romeo, Joseph, Olivier, Jeanette and Gaudence.
Our Compassion story so far...
In 2019, 2 members of staff and 1 student visited the project, bringing back more stories and experiences, which inspired a number of assemblies that were shared with the Academy. Compassion8 was then formed - a group of Year 8 students who wrote to the children in Rwanda and shared updates with their peers.

As a result, a number of our students, along with their families and some of our staff, decided to sponsor children at the same project in Rwanda.
By the end of 2019, 8 lives had been changed through sponsorship, 1468 students understood the work of Compassion, 44 letters had been written and our students had raised £3213. But the ripple didn’t end there...

As a school we felt that what we had seen had made such a difference to us and our school community that we wanted to share it with others. In the Autumn of 2019 we worked with Compassion to bring the ‘Compassion Experience’ to children within the Diocese.

Over 2 days we welcomed 26 different schools who walked through the immersive journey and listened to our sponsorship story. One student from St Mary’s said “It’s quite upsetting that you see children in extreme poverty. It makes you think how fortunate you are. You’re not rich – you have enough to keep you going. But to them we are really rich”.
As a result of what 2 students saw, and with a combination of their faith and their action, a ripple effect has started making a difference locally, nationally and globally.

As of now, an additional 45 children have been sponsored.
Learn more about Compassion on their website
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