The Friends of Vinehall are a lively, well-organised group of parents. Meeting every half term, the Committee runs a number of social events during the year; these include coffee mornings, sponsored walks, a Bonfire Night celebration and the Secrets Room (a Christmas shop, where items are provided by classes and the FOV; children then come into school and buy lovely gifts for their families), a Winter fair, a Lent social, pancake races, Easter Eggstravaganza, a summer picnic and the Vines’ Day fete. These events offer an opportunity for children and parents to mix informally.
Another aim of the Friends is to fund-raise. In recent years the funds raised have been split between Rwanda Aid, local charities (including Snowflakes, Believe in You Teens, Xtrax and Dragonflies) and the school wish list. The wish list consists of staff requests and the FOV aim to support projects that enhance our children’s environment and learning experience.
The present committee can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class Reps work with the FOV to ensure all parents are kept informed about forthcoming FOV events; they also organise small informal meetings for parents to get to know each other. Class Reps can be contacted via the school. Through the Class Reps, FOV ask for parent donations to enable events such as the Secrets Room and Lent hamper raffle to go ahead. It is up to each class to decide on the amount sought and every donation is valued and appreciated.
It’s been another fantastic year for the FOV and I am so very grateful to the lovely ladies that make up our committee for their enthusiasm and hard work in the face of all that is thrown at them!
First up was the September Pet Show where all manor of large and small pets descended onto the front lawn while we tried to rein in the chaos! It is only down to the ever organised Emma Watkins that all went so smoothly and a great time was had by all.
The change in format for the Fireworks evening was a success, meaning we could offer more choice for food and drink as well as flexibility for ticket purchasing. There was also time for socialising before the main event, something that went down well!
This year has seen our biannual Christmas Fair break records, in terms of attendance, stall holders and funds raised. It was lovely to see so many new faces come up the drive and leave laden down with bags full of treasures! The children were a great support, running stalls and the Father Christmas Post Office that saw over 150 letters sent to the North Pole, each receiving a hand written reply from the big man himself!
A new entry to the year was suggested by the Children’s Charity Committee and supported by FOV. The Christmas Collection saw donations of clothing, toys, toiletries and treats that the children made up into over 200 bags that were collected by Dom’s Food Mission and distributed to the needy in Hastings. We worked with Dom’s Food Mission later in the year with the Year 8s and we hope that this will be the start of a relationship with this very worthwhile local charity.
The Secrets Room rounded off a “fairly” busy Michaelmas term, reminding us why we hold the Fair every two years! As usual the class rep gifts added to a fantastic smorgasbord of treats that enabled the children to buy something for everyone at pocket money prices.
We were on hand in February to support the Pre-Prep with their pancake day adventures including the pancake races and the Good Cook Bad Cook assembly.
The Lent term brought our Quiz Night, which this year was held in the Drawing Room. There was the usual fun and games, not to mention a small amount of competition! The Hampers that were provided by Class Reps never fail to impress and I’m delighted to say that we raised a record amount this year from the raffle alone.
At Easter there was the hugely anticipated visit from the Easter Bunny as well as chocolate eggs for each of the children. Just as well it was end of term and they took their sugar rushes home!
Onwards to the crescendo of the year……. The Vines Day Fete. This is such a mammoth effort each year and I am hugely grateful to those that give their time to ensure it is such a success. In the days that run up to it, it can be hard to believe that it will all come together and yet it always does, bringing a huge amount of enjoyment to all that attend.
Food Bank Friday continued through the year and I am asked to pass on the immense gratitude from Emmaus, the charity that receive the bags and bags of items that are collected.
As usual, the committee voted for the funds raised to be split between the school wish list, Rwanda Aid and three local charities, Xtrax, Believe in you teens and Snowflakes. If there is a local charity that you would like us to consider please do let us know.
There can be times through the year when it seems impossible to balance all that we do, and yet at each event, the pleasure on the children’s faces and the feeling of being part of something wonderful here at Vinehall means that everything else is forgotten!
So huge thanks go to the Committee, Class Reps, mums and dads, grandparents and children who are roped in to ensure that each event is such a success. Without your help we simply wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
Please do get in touch on email@example.com if you have an event idea, or are interested in making new friends, supporting the school and the wider community.
We were delighted to raise enough money to make a donation of £3000 to Rwanda Aid. This is the annual amount required to maintain the Vinehall Boarding House, which was built by the school several years ago.
We were also able to donate the following amounts to the local charities suggested by parents. As well as the monetary donation, we hope that the charities will come into school to talk to the children about their work.
Finally we have been able to make donations to the school wish list including: hockey pitch divider; play equipment and face paints for Pre-Prep; boarders’ games, blankets and Netflix subscription; swim hats for the swim squad; sports vests for the athletics team; and a large donation towards hand bells for the music department.