During the 12 months of 2016, School in a Bag did achieve:

During the 12 months of 2016, School in a Bag did achieve!…(read to the tune of The 12 days of Christmas – but that is where the tune ends!):

Please see below the top 12 School in a Bag facts and achievements from 2016.  Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this record-breaking year.  We simply could not do this without the amazing support that we continually get from our donors, volunteers and fundraisers and for this, we are eternally grateful.

1: Surpassing the 70,000 SchoolBag milestone

This was a target of ours for 2016 and we were delighted to reach it in early November. In fact, the current total stands at 73,716 and with 2,122 waiting to be put together ‘In Country’ or handed out when the schools start back in early 2017, our total will increase to 75,838.

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SIAB world presence map with new countries for 2016

 

2:  Increasing our Countries Total to 35*

We are very happy to have distributed SchoolBags in 9 new countries this year:

Albania | Angola | Cambodia | France | Greece | Haiti | Ivory Coast | Peru | Syria.

*SchoolBags have arrived in Bulgaria for distribution in early January which will be country 36.

One particular success has been the formation of excellent partnerships with charities working in Europe and these have proven to be a great outlet for the ever-increasing amount of SchoolBags we continue to pack here in the UK amongst our donors and schools.

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Albania becomes SIAB country No: 35

 

3:  Supporting Refugee and War-Affected Children in Syria, Greece and France

2016 has been the first year where through an increasing network of charity partners, School in a Bag has been able to get SchoolBags to children in war torn areas or refugee camps where the need is so great.  SIAB are indebted to the commitment and dedication of our partners who take great risks to deliver our little red bags to children who have lost everything through man-made disasters.  Our special thanks to Hand in Hand for Syria, CalAid and Care4Calais

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In all, 720 SchoolBags were distributed in Aleppo, Syria in 2016

 

4:  Reaching the 10,000 SchoolBag milestone in Nepal

Thanks to our amazing Nepal Earthquake Appeal last year our partners HELP (Helambu Education Livelihood Partnership) have been kept busy during 2016 supporting the schools and communities in Sindhupalchowk district most severely affected.  In continuing aftershocks the HELP team continue to increase their outreach and to date over 10,200 children in 80 schools have now received SchoolBags since December 2012.

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Photo: Georgina Woodhead

 

5:  Raising over £100,000 as Charity Service Partner for the Inner Wheel Association

On June 30th our year-long partnership with the Inner Wheel Association officially came to an end but money continued to pour in after until finally, in November the £100k barrier was surpassed.  The partnership promoting SIAB amongst the clubs and districts around the UK was absolutely magnificent for raising the profile of the charity at a national level and we shall be ever grateful for the wonderful generosity and hospitaility shown during our year together.

6:  An incredible 3 days in April at the Inner Wheel Association National Conference

With a fully packed minibus containing stock to pack 200 SchoolBags, the SIAB team departed from Home Farm on an April Sunday morning for the road trip to Glasgow to set-up shop in the house of friendship for three days. On day 2, during Luke’s presentation to the 2,100 delegates, he announced that the SIAB team would like to take the SchoolBags back to Somerset funded and packed.  Cue the busiest five hours in School in a Bag history!  And…it didn’t stop on day 3 – in all 400 SchoolBags were funded in a day and a half and along with over 1,500 knitted teddies that were taken to Conference, the minibus was fully laden on the return journey to Somerset.

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What a year…thank you indeed!

 

7:  Building a new school called Shree Deurali

It was always agreed that a portion of the money raised by the Inner Wheel Association would be used to fund the re-build of a school in Nepal.  In late April the first foundation stones for Shree Deurali School in Tartong (60kms north of Kathmandu) were laid by Ann Acaster, International Service Chair for the Inner Wheel Association and over the course of the year the seven-classroom school for 220 children was built under the guidance of the HELP team.  Thus far, HELP have built eight of the 15 schools they pledged to build and SIAB are seeking further funds to assist them with their mission.

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The school is almost complete

 

8:  Adding a 5th stage to Home Farm Fest

Following Home Farm Fest 10 in 2015, it was clear that there was a need to expand the site and breach in to the adjoining field. By adding a big inflatable 5th stage and shifting the children’s area up to join it, Home Farm Fest 11 was able to increase the capacity of bands (96) and punters to raise a cool £60,000!

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Busy scenes at the new Domer Stage at Home Farm Fest 11

 

9:  Funding SchoolBags in Ghana made from rubbish

In September, SIAB received a request to get SchoolBags to schools in Ghana in association with the charity Tzedek.  Shipping SchoolBags was not an option and sourcing a red rucksack proved non-existent which left us with an issue.  Then we discovered a social enterprise company in Accra called Trashy Bags that make bags out of rubbish.  In October, 287 SchoolBags with rucksacks made from recycled water sachets were handed out and funds for a further 401 SchoolBags for Phase II have been wired ready for distribution in January 2017.

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The TrashyBag SchoolBag made from water sachets

 

10:  Watching Ed Pratt continue his amazing journey to become the first person to unicycle around the world whilst raising funds for School in a Bag

Ed continues to enthrall us with amazing posts on social media about his trip.  His ability to document the adventures on his journey so incredibly well really do make you feel as if you are there experiencing it with him.  We were so pleased that Ed reached his first fundraising target this year and look forward to him surpassing his next one!

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Ed Pratt – our unicycling, fundraising adventurer

 

11: Having our first ‘Retail Experience’ with a School in a Bag pop up shop in Yeovil

When the invitation to have our first ‘pop-up’ charity shop was offered to us by The Quedam Shopping Centre in Yeovil it was too good an opportunity to miss. The original plan to have a window display and hold an event in it quickly changed to us making the decision to physically man the shop to encourage people in to it. Of course, the public would need something to do whilst in the shop and packing SchoolBags was obviously the solution – thus, the 110 SchoolBag Wall was born and the challenge of trying to fund (and pack them all) was on. With two shopping days still to go, over 400 SchoolBags have been funded so far during the seven week stint and we have been amazed at the awareness it has generated in our local area. Thank you to The Quedam and to the Mayor and Mayoress of Yeovil for supporting the ♯QuedamCampaign.

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The first School in a Bag shop

 

12: Winning the Main Sponsors’ Award at the Western Gazette Business Awards

Having been upgraded to the Business of the Year Award and not been successful in this category we were amazed to be presented the Main Sponsors’ Award at the end of the evening amongst such prestigious corporate company. The Western Gazette and Somerset Live have been fabulous supporters of School in a Bag and we are ever grateful for the exposure they continue to give us.

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The Western Gazette Business Awards: SIAB win Main Sponsors’ Award

 

And finally….the 13th point!!

13: Making the news with the School in a Bag version of the internet sensation ‘Pen Pineapple Apple Pen’

Sometimes, Luke ought to learn to keep his mouth shut for having shown the office the ridiculous Pen Pineapple Apple Pen clip on YouTube that had 58 million views at the time, the idea to do a School in a Bag parody was born. In a one take wonder, the School in a Bag version was viewed 850 times on You Tube and made it on the ITV.com website.

“I have a School, I have a Bag”

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Click the image to play the clip…at your peril!

 

Thank you once again. Wishing you all a happy and healthy festive season – here’s to 2017!

From the School in a Bag Team: Luke, Zoë, Charlotte and Lis :)