Dulwich College Service Day 2023: Making a difference



At Dulwich College, service engagement and social responsibility are deeply ingrained in our ethos. Each year, we organize a remarkable event that brings together the entire school community in an effort to make a positive impact in our local community.

Across Senior School, this years’ Service Day saw over 800 pupils from various year groups participating in 39 different locations.

The volunteering opportunities were divided into three categories: environmental projects, involving our enthusiastic Year 7, 8, and 9 pupils, and social and educational initiatives, engaging pupils from Years 10 and 12. It was heartening to witness the dedication and commitment displayed by our pupils, as they tackled a wide range of opportunities head-on.

One notable project took place at Dulwich Park and Belair Park, where our Year 7 and Year 8 pupils rolled up their sleeves and worked alongside College staff under the passionate guidance of Mrs Sarah Smalley and Ms Yem Soper-Gwatidzo. Our pupils were given the opportunity to explore and contribute to their local environment, learning about the importance of sustainability and conservation first-hand. We are thankful to Robert Roach, the Parks Officer, and the contractors Idverde for their help and support. Feedback from the park officials included this sentence:

‘Fantastic event and amazing results. Thank you everyone.’

Of the numerous projects that we could highlight, another project that deserves special recognition is our partnership with the award-winning charity, the BigKid Foundation. This remarkable organization is on a mission to end social exclusion and youth violence, and our pupils eagerly joined forces with them to make a meaningful impact in the grounds of their Dexters Adventure Playground in Brixton. Pupils also volunteered at 18 primary schools, and a number of foodbanks and care homes, spreading joy and assistance to those in need. One member of College staff wrote afterwards about his time with College pupils at a local care home, saying:

‘Just a quick note to say how extremely glad I am that we took some of our boys to this care home. It was joyful, eye opening and thought provoking for boys (and certainly for me). The boys were amazing… So thank you so much for this opportunity’.

In addition to going into our local community, we invited 180 children from Dulwich Wood Primary School to come on site for a day of Science. College teachers organized engaging hands-on sessions, ensuring safety by pairing Year 10 and 12 pupils with younger children. Exciting activities included earning Microscope Licences, conducting chemical reactions, observing flame colours, and the highlight of exploding hydrogen and oxygen balloons. A picnic lunch accompanied by the College’s Symphony Orchestra added to the memorable experience. In the afternoon, Year 6 pupils dissected hearts and inflated lambs’ lungs, providing great fun for all involved.

Our Service Day serves as a powerful reminder that education extends beyond the boundaries of our school gates. It teaches our pupils valuable lessons about empathy, compassion, and the importance of active citizenship. By immersing themselves in projects that address societal and environmental challenges, our pupils develop a profound understanding of the world and their role within it.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to all the College staff members involved in leading these separate volunteering opportunities. Their guidance and support were instrumental in making this event a resounding success. We are also very thankful to the 39 placement locations who supported our vision by welcoming us so wholeheartedly. In addition, we are incredibly proud of our pupils for their unwavering commitment to service and their determination to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

As we reflect on the day’s achievements, we are reminded of the transformative power that lies within each and every one of us when we come together for a common cause.

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