The ethos of ‘Community Action’ lies at the heart of Dulwich College, and has done since Edward Alleyn founded his school for poor, local scholars in 1619.
Every Alleynian is encouraged to engage in some active volunteering during their time at school. This is particularly the case for those in the Upper School, where ‘service’, or the dedication of our time and effort to the benefit of others, is an integral part of life at the College. This service takes the form of both Service Education as well as Service Engagement so that pupils in all year groups grow in their understanding of the centrality of personal responsibility as well as being able to practically work-out this responsibility in the local community.
For some, their volunteering may be supporting one-off events, such as supermarket collections for the local Brixton and West Norwood Foodbank or marshalling crowds at Dulwich Village Fayres.
The majority of pupils, however, commit to supporting one of our established community partners for one hour per week for the first two term of the academic year (though we are considering extending this, for Years 10 and 12, into the Summer Term, also).
These partnerships fall within the following three areas: Education, Environmental and Social.
We offer a wide range of placements at local primary schools, residential care homes and after-school activity clubs, to name but a few. We particularly encourage pupils to develop their own volunteering initiatives according to their personal strengths and interests, such as art, IT or sport. The range of Community Action projects run either at lunchtimes, after school or on Saturday mornings, with some students electing to extend their commitment as a result of their positive experiences.
Currently, we are developing more academic and co-curricular volunteering links with a number of our community partners as well as with the educational charity: www.actiontutoring.org.uk
It is important that pupils develop meaningful connections and relationships via their Community Action projects, through which a deep appreciation of a cohesive, supportive and caring local community can be fostered. As pupils further understand their active role in their society, their perception of their own sense of self and wellbeing is also promoted.
We look forward to extending and developing our volunteering work across Dulwich and the wider Southwark area.