Redland Green School

RGS Bristol

Bristol Students Nurture the Next Generation of Compassionate Leaders

The students of Redland Green School in Bristol began their remarkable journey of social action almost five years ago.  It started in July 2012 with an inspirational visit from a Speaker and Facilitator from WE.  Since then, the Year 7 class of 2012 have grown into compassionate young leaders in their school and beyond.

With thanks to generous funding from Virgin Atlantic, WE Speaker and Facilitator, Frankie, was able to return to Redland Green to work alongside the WE Group who have nurtured the WE Schools programme into a core part of life at Redland Green.  With Frankie’s support, these socially-active students are preparing to pass the mantle on to the next generation of change-makers.

With five years of experience, the WE Group are seasoned action-planners with plenty of projects in the pipeline:

“I was blown away by the dynamism and independence of the WE Group.  The group was so well organised, motivated and confident in their abilities to action-plan.  They already had such a great vision for their projects, touching on each of the Five Pillars within the Free The Children’s WE Villages international development model, and on many local issues too.  I was impressed by the quality and quantity of their action plans and honoured to be able to work with a group of young people who are taking the initiative and making positive changes in their community,” said Frankie.

To get their whole school engaged in social action, the WE Group were planning their own WE Day-style event: WE DayX Redland Green.  Throughout the workshop, the group developed their ideas for boosting the event’s impact, adding ever more fundraising opportunities and innovative awareness-raisers to the schedule.

On a seemingly ordinary February evening, inspirational speakers and talented performers from Redland Green came together to celebrate an incredible twelve months of local and global actions, and kick-start another year of transformative change.  With the stage set and lights dimmed, students, staff and parents gathered together for an entertaining evening with a meaningful message.  From indie rock bands to solo singers, from thought-provoking speeches to sharing stories of WE’s international development programme, WE Villages, WE DayX Redland Green had it all.

As well as a celebration event, the WE Group used the festivities as a key opportunity to support Free The Children’s WE Villages, raising money for the Education Pillar in India.  The group have been fundraising for the Verdara community for almost three years, making an immense impact on children’s education in the area.  By selling programmes, refreshments, and raffle tickets on the day, the WE Group will make an even greater difference to the community they care so much about.

Most importantly, the event was an opportunity to reflect on the amazing actions taken by students throughout the year.  Determined to give back to their local community, the whole school got involved in WE’s WE Won’t Rest campaign, collecting food and clothing for a Bristol-based homelessness charity.  The group delivered their colossal collection in person, chatting over tea with some of the homeless service-users and helping to hand out care packages.  By helping to make the lives of  some of the most vulnerable people in their community a little brighter, Redland Green have shown their commitment to improving the world we live in.

The stand out performance of the night came from a multi-talented group of social activists.  To kick-start their piece, two students took to the stage to speak about the obstacles that deaf children face in a world that has not adapted nor provided for them.  The speakers used powerful statistics to highlight the issue, telling the audience “90 per cent of deaf children are born to hearing parents with little or no experience of deafness.  88 per cent of those parents are unable to communicate with their child using sign language, leaving them isolated.”  To show how we can begin to break down barriers students performed a song, using sign language to interpret the lyrics.  By combining skilful speakers with a spectacular singer and inspirational interpreters, this performance is sure to open eyes, change viewpoints and create powerful change.  

On 22 March students from Redland Green will join with 12,000 like-minded young people at WE Day UK, generously sponsored by Virgin Atlantic.  As the older members of the WE Group prepare to pass their legacy on to a new cohort of social activists, the outgoing and incoming members are excited to celebrate their achievements and nurture new dreams together.

 

Press release from Free the Children (WE)