Oakwood School brings festive cheer to the lonely this Christmas

Tuesday 25th December 2018

On Christmas Day we opened the doors to people in the local community – young or old – who would otherwise have spent the day alone.

The festive initiative saw the school team up with the organisers of the nearby Emsworth Community Christmas, which has grown significantly over the last three years.  Oakwood were delighted to be able to offer another venue to allow the local event to expand to include Funtington Community Christmas as well.

Clare Bradbury, Headteacher at Oakwood School, said, “At the heart of our ethos at Oakwood is instilling an understanding that our children are a part of a larger community that they should actively seek to be a part of and what better day than Christmas Day to open our doors and share our beautiful school with people in our community. Many of our staff, families and friends were involved in the preparation and running of the day, helping to make Christmas Day a day to remember –  even watching the Queen’s Speech together!  We are delighted that our guests had a wonderful day but the added bonus has been the pleasure that the event has brought our staff and families with the wonderful conversations we’ve had and the relationships we have started.”

In the run-up to the Christmas Day event, the Oakwood team was busy fundraising and had also set up a JustGiving page for anyone wishing to donate.  In addition, local businesses generously gave to the event including Chichester Waitrose, Chichester College, Parklands Butchers and Southbourne Farm Shop to name a few.  Money raised was spent on transport, fresh produce, Christmas decorations and gifts for the guests.

The day started at 10.30am when more than forty guests were welcomed with a mince pie and festive drink, before enjoying a delicious traditional Christmas lunch with all the trimmings. There was much joy and laughter, as everyone enjoyed festive fun, carol singing, music, presents and conversation with new friends before the day drew to a close at 4pm. Every guest went home with a box of gifts put together by Oakwood children and handed out by Santa. Transport was available for any guests who required lifts to and from the event.

Clare Bradbury said “Our relationship with our wider community have been of such benefit to Oakwood.  Our youngest children love their regular opportunities to make visits to local care homes and we have hosted wonderful tea parties for our local elderly community.  I would encourage other Prep Schools to offer a warm welcome to their schools.  For some, a trip up a Prep School drive might feel intimidating but we love to make everyone feel welcome and use our space well.”