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  • School in a Bag 4:26 pm on October 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bristol, , Christmas, , , Quedam, , , shopping, , , university,   

    SIAB ‘Blog in a Bag’ No. 26: The School in a Bag team is growing! 

    The team at School in a Bag is small, and whilst we are able to produce a lot of good things: the amount of SchoolBags being distributed every year into lots of different countries, running lots of events to raise more money (including our very own music festival), presenting to schools, groups and organisations all over the country and running SchoolBag packs, there’s only a certain limit to just the amount we can do in a week! We’ve been lucky enough to get Hannah on-board for the last few weeks and she’s an asset to the team already – and lowers our average age in the office dramatically too ;). Here’s an introduction by Hannah to her involvement in the charity, and what she’s up to:

    I first got involved in School in a Bag in 2013. I’m now 5 years older, on the other side of Philosophy degree from the University of Bristol, and the charity still can’t seem to shake me off.

    Back in 2012, my mum was a teaching assistant at a Primary School in Surrey, and met Luke at charity showcase arranged by the council. She was sold; she had the school choose it as their charity that year, and insisted I contact Luke to ask about work experience. I had always wanted to work within the charity sector and at that point, School in a Bag was just starting to gain some momentum so it was pretty good timing. As I was the first work experience placement the charity had ever taken on, it was new for the both of us. I spent a week as Luke’s shadow, quickly learnt the ropes and discovered that charity work was what I wanted to do with my future. Cheers mum.

    I kept in close contact with Luke through the years. Between then and now, you may have seen me in the Merchandise tent at Home Farm Festival, selling hoodies, T-shirts and packing SchoolBags between eating cake, and watching some of the fab music. In July, I graduated from Uni with a degree in Philosophy, focusing my studies human rights and ethics. After a summer off, I joined the team on the 1st October for a three month placement.

    CREDIT - CuriousByGeorgePhotography 51

    Hannah – 2nd from the right at this year’s Home Farm Fest (CREDIT – CuriousByGeorgePhotography)

    My main role is running the School in a Bag shop in the Quedam Shopping Centre, in the charity’s home town of Yeovil. Following from the success of last year’s retail stint, where during just two months, a whopping 555 SchoolBags were funded and packed, the team have been lucky enough to be granted a shop by the Quedam for a second year. We’ve changed location; now next door to CEX and, thankfully for Luke, that little bit closer to Starbucks! You’ll find me here during the shop’s opening hours of 10am-4pm, Tuesdays to Sundays until the 4th December.

    There’s colouring for children, we’re selling Camon Bears and SIAB Jute bags, and wonderful knitted mice by one of our top supporters, Jennifer. Please, come in and pack a SchoolBag, have a chat and learn more about the charity. If you’re struggling to think of Christmas presents, for just £20, you can even pack a SchoolBag on behalf of a loved one – a wonderful, trackable gift for that relative who has everything…

    All the bags packed in the School in a Bag shop will be sent to the Philippines, and distributed by one of our charity partners, the Purple Community Fund. PCF operate in the slum areas of large cities, and focus on improving lives of children living and working on rubbish dumps. They provide children with the vital education they need to escape their situation, in community schools made out of shipping containers. You can help us make a difference to these children’s lives by funding and packing a SchoolBag in the Quedam shop.

    I’ll be finishing my three month placement with a bang, at the Big 18hr Bag Pack in Tesco Extra, Yeovil, on the 23rd December. We are always eager for more volunteers to help – some come for an hour or two and some are there for up to six! If you can spare some time that day and want to get involved, please contact the charity at events@schoolinabag.org as we’d love to have you on-board!

    Having come to the end of my own formal educational journey in July, I am often reflective on how lucky I was. I know that I would be in a very different place without it, and although I’m pretty certain I won’t be going back for any more studying (100 % certain.), I am confident that if I did I would have the support and educational resources to do so. Globally, there are millions of children and young adults who don’t. I feel so grateful to be a part of a charity which is working to lift children out of poverty through education, and give hope to their futures. All this through one little, red bag.

    SIAB shop 2017

    Our School in a Bag shop’s SchoolBag Wall!

    SIAB shop 2 2017

    People packing their own SchoolBag in our shop :)

    If you’d like to read more about the charity, please visit the website, or visit our Facebook page – or I hope to see you in the shop soon!

     
  • School in a Bag 10:45 am on August 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    School in a Bag’s Uganda Appeal for refugee children in Bidi Bidi 

    School in a Bag Launches Appeal to get SchoolBags to Refugee Children in Uganda

    Screen Shot 2017-08-01 at 13.14.59

    *Click image to play video*

    To help us fund SchoolBags for the refugee children in northern Uganda please donate at: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/SIABUgandaAppeal

     

    More information: 

    Today, we’re launching an appeal to help those in desperate need in the Bidi Bidi refugee camp in northern Uganda where there are 350,000 people. Many of these are children, who desperately need educational supplies.

    We are working with our partners in Uganda, East African Playgrounds (EAP), who have been working in Bidi Bidi for the last few months, and have approached us to supply SchoolBags to help alleviate the problem.

    Tom Gill has overseen SIAB’s operations in Uganda since 2012 and has successfully sourced and co-distributed 3,875 SchoolBags working in association with on-the-ground educational charities. The SchoolBags and their contents will be sourced, packed and distributed  ‘In Country’ by Tom and the partner charities EAP are working alongside.

    Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp now holds the unfortunate accolade of being the largest in the world – it was recently forced to close due to the huge numbers of people in it.  85% of these people are women and children and the influx of young South Sudanese children has put a huge strain on an already stretched Ugandan education system. Children are being educated in classes of up to 150, without any resources.

    Luke Simon, Founder & CEO of School in a Bag, said: “Tom approached us about getting SchoolBags into Bidi Bidi and I was shocked to learn about the huge amount of people in this situation, yet have seen no news reports about it in the mainstream media. Having worked with Tom for several years funding and distributing nearly 4,000 SchoolBags, we felt that a direct appeal would be the best way to raise money and awareness to the plight of these refugee children.

    He adds: “We have already donated £5,000 from our funds to the appeal so we can get the first SchoolBags to the children in the camp as quickly as possible. This is a crisis situation that desperately needs attention and we want to help rectify the problem – amazingly, there are more refugees fleeing South Sudan than trying to get into the whole of the EU combined. We at School in a Bag, alongside Tom and East African Playgrounds, are committed to making this appeal a success and getting as many SchoolBags as we can to the children there who need them. We know from experience that for children in desperate temporary situations, the paramount need is to get their routine back on-track, and a major one of these is schooling. If we can help them at this point, it will provide stability, and mean their educational needs won’t suffer.”

    Since December 2016 when fighting between rebel forces and the government broke out in South Sudan following an alleged coup, more than a million people have fled the country seeking refuge with their neighbours. Uganda, bordering South Sudan to the south, has received the biggest influx of refugees courtesy of their open border policy and promise to provide incoming South Sudanese with land and seeds in the belief that they will be better off making a new life for themselves than doing nothing in a camp.

    Please watch our short video above to see the direct request from Tom Gill, Founding Director of East African Playgrounds and School in a Bag Operations Manager in Uganda, or click this link: https://youtu.be/MIdeZOMuzzs

    All the money raised will go towards funding SchoolBags. Donors will be credited under the title ‘Bidi Bidi Ugandan Appeal’ on the School in a Bag database, meaning that all contributors will be able to claim stake to the collective total of SchoolBags funded.

    Thank you so much for your time, help and donation if that’s relevant.

    The SIAB team

     

     

     
  • School in a Bag 2:31 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beavers, Brownies, , Cubs, education, England, fundraisers, , Guides, learning, , Schools, Scouts, , , , world,   

    SIAB ‘Blog in a Bag’ No. 24: The impact of schools fundraising for SIAB and the effect on them 

    Our Blog in a Bag posts are often light-hearted round-ups of what we, or other fundraisers have been up to which are great fun to either write ourselves, or receive from others. This is no different from the respect that every school we’ve worked with this year has surpassed themselves with the amounts they’ve raised, and we’ve had great fun working with every one through presentations, SchoolBag packs, and really getting to know them too! Lis Foy is our School Liaison Officer, and here’s her recap of the academic year:

    The school Summer holidays are here! This has given us time to reflect on another brilliant year’s support from the many schools all over the UK who have supported us this past academic year, and just how much they have raised for School in a Bag. The total amount raised from schools alone is £19,503, which is equivalent to 975 SchoolBags – therefore giving nearly 1000 more children around the world the chance to better their own education, by children of the same age.

    Our aim is to work as closely as possible with schools from going in and presenting, helping them through their fundraising journey including promoting events and fundraisers through our own social media channels, to going back into the schools once we know how much has been raised for a SchoolBag pack. For the children to experience packing the SchoolBags themselves and knowing that the next child who opens the SchoolBag will be the child who receives it, is a pretty moving experience for all ages. And the best bit of all – the school always get to track where in the world their SchoolBags have gone through our unique tracking system on our website. How amazing for children to be able to discuss with their classmates and families about the country where the very SchoolBags they’ve funded and packed have gone, and some schools even do projects on the country to find out more about it leading to further learning and strengthening their fundraising efforts. *Please note that presentations and SchoolBag packs aren’t achievable for all schools as it depends on location and amount raised, but we always do our best to make it happen!

    For us, it’s all about having great fun while FUNdraising and we see this right across all schools, whatever their age! Some schools use our help to get them started, using ideas we can pass on from past successful fundraisers, and others come up with their own unique ideas that we love to hear about – and boy have we heard all sorts of ways money has been raised! From cake sales to sponsored events and from teachers getting their head’s shaved to head teachers running marathons – we even had young Freddie from St Olaves school in York climb Scafell Pike (England’s highest mountain) in terrible conditions to raise £140 and that’s no mean feat, especially at such a young age!

    It’s not just schools, but Sunday Schools, Cubs and Beavers, Brownie and Guide groups, International Student groups, and childminding groups – and at the other end of the scale we went to a lovely lunch with Ilminster Grammar Old Girls Association who made a donation of £260. Stawley School were inspired by our Ambassador Josef to raise £200 and there have been several teacher conferences I’ve spread the SIAB word at too including the NASUWT conference in Manchester where I met lots of lovely teachers ,and we’ve already had support from some of those I met.

    It seems whatever age you are, or whatever group you’re part of, there’s a lot of fun to be had and the trips around the UK have been well worth it. This year we have schools from as far afield as Barcelona and the Isles of Scilly – as well as many local to us schools in Yeovil and the surrounding area. A few travels have included Bedes Prep School in Eastbourne, Egginton School near Derby, Richard Pate School in Cheltenham and not forgetting myself and colleague Zoë travelled to York to pack an amazing 360 SchoolBags St Olaves School after they raised a whopping £7,000! We had a brilliant day with the pupils and staff who made us feel extremely welcome.

    We want to say a BIG THANK YOU to every school which has supported School in a Bag. It is a real pleasure to be able to visit schools and experience first-hand the enthusiasm for the charity. Thank you to all the teachers and school staff for your support – we know you are all really busy and you do an amazing job encouraging the fundraising efforts of the students, often getting involved yourselves. The overwhelming feedback from schools that we get is that everyone enjoys the process of raising funds for SchoolBags and this is evident from the enthusiasm we encounter from students, staff and parents. The children understand the importance for everyone to get an opportunity to learn and what they need to be able to do this. We’ve also had schools join in and help with our fundraisers including our 18-hour Big (Supermarket) Bag Pack at Tesco Extra in Yeovil on the 23rd December. Every year we have great support from students at Preston School and Westfield Academy who helped to raise in excess of £4,000 last year, turning up in their school uniform even during the Christmas holidays to give us hours of their time which is impressive!

    So this is the fun that we’ve had working with schools this year, but I wanted to leave you with feedback from just one of our teachers as she sums up what raising money for us meant to her school:

    Lisa Frost, a teacher from High Ham C of E Primary School in Somerset, said this about her school’s experience: “Working with School in a Bag was an invaluable experience for our school. The simple concept with a clear message, raise £20 and you have a SchoolBag, was an incentive for all ages. The School in a Bag team presented the charity in a clear, child-friendly way and provided ideas for fundraising and support throughout. The children were fully motivated with a clear understanding of what they were aiming for. Their fundraising ideas were imaginative; bad hair day, music concert and fill the jar with coins. The bag pack day was an amazing experience for the children and one that will have a lasting memory. It was a really pleasure to watch the child pack a SchoolBag for other children knowing that their fundraising was helping those less fortunate.”

    If you are a teacher, a Governor, a parent or anything to do with a school and you would like to get involved with fundraising for School in a Bag, then please get in touch as I’d love to hear from you! Email me: schools@schoolinabag.org or call the office and ask to speak to me, Lis Foy, on 01935 849160

    Have a great summer!

    SIAB Schools Poster

    Schools 6IMG_4784IMG_4785IMG_4786Schools 8Schools 7

    Schools 2

     
  • School in a Bag 12:42 pm on June 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    SIAB ‘Blog in a Bag’ No. 23: Home Farm Fest Charity Music Festival Blown Away by the Success! 

    Home Farm Fest, the charity music festival we hold at our School in a Bag HQ in Chilthorne Domer, Somerset and the biggest annual fundraiser for the charity, has once again smashed its previous year’s fundraising total coming in at just over £72,700 – even if the windy conditions tried its hardest to scupper the music! 

    Last year’s festival raised £60,000 so the upward trend of raising more each year for School in a Bag continues – and it has now raised a total of over £325,000 in its 12 year history.

    This year again a few changes were made to the layout of the festival site, even introducing a sixth main stage, the Anderson Dance Tent, as well as a smaller Busk Stop on the new Village Green area. There was also the introduction of e-ticketing, and one of the most sort after items, the plastic Collector’s Cup – a pint-sized special edition Home Farm Fest 12 cup which allowed for refilling, which had sold out by Saturday lunchtime! These alongside the e-tickets, helped reduce the amount of paper and waste used during the festival.

    Once again there was an international football match, England v Scotland World Cup Qualifier, which was shown to an enthusiastic crowd shown on the big screen, the ever-popular Silent Disco was back with the introduction of a children’s one as well which went down very well, and thanks to Steve at Yeovil Press, there was even the first edition of Home Farm Fest Press – a brilliant round-up of what was on including interviews with some of the bands!

    With the changes from last year and the growth in popularity of Home Farm Fest, numbers were also higher over the weekend, including the most ever amount of caravans, camper vans and tents! Not only that, but with the seven stages in total, there were 139 different acts on over the weekend – 43 more than last year and a 45% increase on the amount of music and other acts on offer!

    Luke Simon, Founder & CEO of School in a Bag and Home Farm Fest organiser, said: “Once again we are bowled over by the festival’s success and how much it has raised! We watched as the ticket orders came in, and surpassed last year’s by a considerable amount. In my role as one of the Poo Patrol team, although it may not seem a glamorous job, it does mean I get to see the whole site regularly, and also chat to festival goers, traders and volunteers alike and the feedback we get each year is just brilliant – I still find it hard to believe just 12 years ago it was one stage with three bands over one evening!”

    Zoë Fox, Events & Marketing Manager for School in a Bag and Home Farm Fest Organiser said: “We did have a testing time on the Saturday afternoon with gusts of wind reaching up to 46mph that meant halting proceedings on our main stage for an hour and a half, but thanks to a lot of teamwork, the bands affected being amazing, and the wind finally subsiding, we were back on track!

    Adding: “With the festival getting bigger, it means relying on more and more volunteers and we are so lucky to have such a brilliant team who help from setting everything up, being here over the festival weekend and then helping tidy up afterwards. We’re only a small team who run the charity and organise the festival, so we are truly grateful for all the help we receive. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helps, from all the musicians who play for free, the sound engineers and stage managers, PlayArt who give up their time to help entertain all the children, the bar staff for pulling more pints than ever before, and the huge number of other volunteers as all this effort amounts to thousands being raised for School in a Bag.”

    Planning has already begun for Home Farm Fest 13 and it’s hoped that the upward trend will still continue in the forthcoming years – especially with no Glastonbury Festival next year, who knows where locals especially will turn to instead… For now though, School in a Bag is able to prosper from the gain and put it towards helping even more children gain an education through its SchoolBag initiative.

    A few photos from the weekend to relive the festival if you were there, or whet your appetite for next year – dates are 8th-10th June 2018 :)

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 64

    Some of the HFF volunteers and staff

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 57

    Reading the first Home Farm Fest Press

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 62

    Luke (SIAB FOUNDER & CEO) with 360 view

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 39

    Crowd having fun at The Domer stage

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 51

    Snakebyte rocking the Dutch Barn

    CREDIT - CuriousByGeorgePhotography 140

    All ages having fun at this year’s festival

    CREDIT - CuriousByGeorgePhotography 110

    Posh Wears and Wellies on the Friday night

    CREDIT - CuriousByGeorgePhotography 51

    Awesome HFF volunteers in the shop

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 1

    Crimson on Silver headlining Saturday on The Domer

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 12

    Snakebyte v The Village People!

    CREDIT - CuriousByGeorgePhotography 203

    Afternoon fun on the Dutch Barn

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 52

    The Domer with its new effects this year

     

     

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 23

    A snake on a SchoolBag – there’s something new!

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 5

    Michael Garrett on The Folkroom stage

     

     

     

    CREDIT - Zoë Fox SIAB 32

    Our SchoolBaguitar – did you take a photo here?!

     
  • School in a Bag 9:27 am on April 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , line-up, , , , , ,   

    SIAB ‘Blog in a Bag’ No. 22: Our Charity Festival and what it means to us 

    Running a charity is hard. You’re constantly trying to come up with new ways to fundraise and capture the imagination of people to part with their hard earned cash. 2006 saw the first Piers Simon Concert, held in memory of Piers on the family farm where the charity is still based. It was in collaboration with popular Yeovil band Storm and there were three bands on one stage during one afternoon/evening – it raised £8,500. Skip 10 more festivals and over £253,000 raised and we’ve now a three day festival, Home Farm Fest, with 6 stages and over 120 bands playing – quite a difference!

    Home Farm Fest has become School in a Bag‘s biggest annual fundraiser. In the last three years alone it has gone from raising £24,000 in 2014 to £46,000 in 2015 and £60,000 last year. The growth is due to a rise in popularity both of musicians wanting to perform, but also people wanting to come along. It’s a very cheap festival (only £45 for an adult Weekender ticket this year), has great music across the 6 stages as well as a large Children’s Area, a Market Area, lots of individual attractions and some great drinking establishments!

    This year’s line-up of musicians is by far our biggest to date, and doesn’t even include our new Busk Stop in our Village Green area that will have people playing all weekend too, in fact not just singers but poets, spoken word and dancers. It’s really exciting to be a part of the development and know that we can fundraise through a completely different way to the more common bike rides, marathons and such like – not that we’re belittling these at all because they are all huge achievements often putting people way out of their comfort zone where as Home Farm Fest is a way for families and friends to come together to enjoy a weekend of good music and fun, yet still raise money for charity.

    We’ve also developed in other ways this year – we’ve introduced e-ticketing which will save us a LOT of money on postage, we’ve getting durable plastic Collectors’ pint cups that will have this year’s Home Farm Fest logo on and help us with our mission of being more green as there will be less waste. We’ve got a new one-way entrance and exit to the festival to alleviate a natural bottleneck we have on-site, but also to help with the flow of traffic and noise in the village. Basically, it’s growing.

    We’re still in our infancy though and as a core team of only four who run both the charity and the festival, it can get pretty crazy at times! We have a fantastic committee of people who help out with running certain areas of the festival and take it on-board in their own spare time, for free. Without them we simply wouldn’t have the manpower to do it all and the festival, and therefore the amount raised would suffer. We also have incredible support from local businesses who donate huge amounts to us: stages, lighting, sound equipment, toilets, marquees, generators, etc etc that means we can get spend to  minimum and profits high. We are so very grateful for all of this time and effort that’s poured into the festival so a BIG thank you to all concerned.

    So back to this year and the music. Here are all the musicians who are performing over the three days and the stages they’re on:Home Farm Fest 12 line-up

     

    If you’d like to come and join in with this year’s festival, tickets can be bought via our website: http://www.homefarmfest.co.uk – we hope to see you in 6 weeks time, 9th-11th June!

    Thanks,

    The School in a Bag and Home Farm Fest team

     
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