The Bradfieldian spoke to Poppy (J), Charlotte (K), Cat (K), Hannah (K) and Olivia (M) about their experiences with the EdClub Movement and bringing the joy of reading to the world.

WHEN DID YOU ALL FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE EDCLUB MOVEMENT?

Our initial involvement was over a year ago, at the beginning of our Lower Sixth year. Tasha Ely, Director of EdClub, came in to talk to our year group about getting involved and it is something the College has been doing for a number of years. We experienced video calling the children at the computer suite in Huruma for the first time. It was really fun doing a bit of dancing and playing a few games to build up a good relationship. That whole experience and our subsequent Skype sessions motivated us to get involved with EdClub further.

HOW DID THE IDEA OF HELPING TO BUILD THE EDCLUB LIBRARY COME ABOUT?

Those of us taking the IB Diploma wanted to base our CAS project around a new initiative as we were keen not to take up a continuation of a previously existing College project. As we were all already involved with EdClub we thought it would be the logical step to see how else we could get involved. We were clear from the start that we wanted to do something for the charity but also wanted it to be something that they need. So we got back in touch with Tasha who told us about an empty building next to the computer room and suggested that we come up with an idea to put it to good use. That’s when we decided on creating a library. The whole EdClub programme is geared towards education and we teach them English during our calls so it made sense to do something like this. We hope they will be able to use the library to further their skills and utilise them to gain a better education and better job prospects.

HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT STOCKING BOOKS FOR THE LIBRARY?

In order to get a collection up and running we knew we’d have to target specific types or genres of books. We would be providing for a wide variety of ages because the children we Skype are between the ages of 6 and 17 and are often joined by younger siblings. Collection points were set up in each House throughout the Summer Term and lots of academic departments got involved by donating text books to directly help with the children’s education. We were staggered by the number of books we received and we did a lot of [supervised] heavy lifting to collect well over 1,000 donations which included a wide range of children’s books and young adult novels as well as non-fiction and text books. Faulkner’s was so generous and we would like to thank all the Houses, pupils, parents and staff for getting behind the campaign.

HOW DID YOU RAISE MONEY FOR THE BUILDING MATERIALS AND UPKEEP OF THE LIBRARY?

We wanted to give EdClub a lump sum of money to get the library built as well as cover the costs of maintaining the building, employing security and renovation costs so we came up with the idea of holding an auction. Commemoration Day seemed to us like a good day when there would be a lot of the school community on campus who might be interested in bidding in the auction so we set up our table outside the Greek Theatre and later on by the cricket pitches. We had a handful of lots for bidding on in our catalogue and we had some really generous donors, including a really lovely lady who gave us a significant portion of money at the beginning of the day because she felt strongly about the cause. The lots included some pieces of art which we had commissioned especially and we were able to connect with some generous people who gave away weekend breaks and holidays. We wanted to have a variety of lots so that everybody felt like they could get involved so we called up some of the well known pubs and restaurants locally to see if they would provide a couple of meals and we were so grateful for their response. We decided to hold a raffle for some lots and silent auction bids for others and in the end we raised just under £4,000 over the course of that day.

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE PROCESS?

There were lots of things that we had not anticipated, particularly when it came to event organisation and the logistics process. We picked up a lot of skills that will help us in the business world; setting up a College account for the money to go into and understanding the details of organising an event such as booking space for our auction stand and making sure we had a table, raffle tickets and donation buckets. We even got an insight into the publication process as we put together our own catalogue and organised the printing.

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS?

One of the aims from the start of the project was to create legacy so we are hoping what we have done will inspire future Bradfieldians to continue helping this project, whether that is by supplying new books or fundraising to maintain the library. We wanted to do something that lasts. It is great to see the new waves of Lower Sixth pupils who sign up to the Skype sessions. We hope this creates more awareness for the initiative and inspires more pupils to sign up. Those of us who are planning on taking Gap Years are looking to go out and visit the library and see the finished product as it is built over the next few months. The books we sent have already arrived but are under lock and key while they figure out the best way to keep the library secure once it is built.

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