Victoria Leggett, Education correspondent
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
They are aged just seven to 11- years-old, but already these Norwich youngsters are experts at securing lucrative sponsorship deals, attracting the backing of top celebrities and organising major charity events.
Today, the Norwich Evening News is getting behind the efforts of the Kinsale Junior School Aquila Club and introducing our readers to their hard-working members.
And, as they near the culmination of their latest project, the pupils will be showing us what goes into organising a top charity ball and auction.
The Aquila Club has been running for the past six years at the Middleton’s Lane school with a regularly-changing mix of members as the children grow up and move on to secondary school.
Each challenge they have been set has been greater than the last and required them to gain a new range of skills to ensure they do a professional job.
Their previous projects have seen them create a tourist information leaflet for Norwich, aimed at children, which was available at The Forum, the Norfolk’s Fine Food board game celebrating the great foods this county has to offer, and the Let’s Cook Norfolk Children’s Cookbook, which was backed by a host of local celebrities keen to have their recipes included.
But their latest challenge is their greatest yet: a charity ball and auction in aid of Norfolk bereavement charity Nelson’s Journey and BBC Children in Need.
Less than a year ago, as the six children neared their Christmas holidays, they were given a briefing note which asked them to research charity balls and what they would need to do.
Headteacher Carolyn Baxter, who set the challenge, said: “I think it’s quite difficult for anybody to organise something they haven’t had experience of – but that’s where I can help and support them.
“They’re up for it and committed to it.”
Since then, the group has been hard at work organising every aspect of the ball, which they are determined will be worth the £55 ticket price and will be as good – if not better – than any charity event organised by grown ups.
From calling up to book the band – Scratch the Cat – for the night, to writing to potential sponsors, the pupils have really thrown themselves into their task.
Mrs Baxter said it may seem like a big job for six small people, but she was more than confident in their abilities.
“It’s about believing that children can achieve,” she said. “They are quite capable – they are just small versions of us, really. If you just look at the cookbook they produced, how many adults could do that?
“They can pick up the phone, they can book the band.
“If you expect it from them, you are more than likely going to get it.”
As well as raising lots of money for their chosen charities – sales of their cookbook have already brought in £4,500 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance – the children’s headteacher hopes they will gain a mixture of skills which will be invaluable as they grow up.
“They are being given an opportunity to negotiate, persuade, learn how to talk to adults and learn how to pitch to adults,” said Mrs Baxter.
The charity ball and auction, in conjunction with Auction House UK, will take place at Dunston Hall on November 10 in aid of Nelson’s Journey and Children in Need. Tickets are £55 each or £500 for a table of 10. They are available from Auction House by calling 01603 505100.
The children are still looking for more sponsors for the evening and would welcome more donations of raffle and auction items. To find out more, or to lend your support, contact the school on 01603 425662 or email firstname.lastname@example.org