Porchlight is a homeless charity working across Kent. It helps people who are homeless or at risk of becoming so.

When Nathan Tough, Community and Corporate Fundraising Officer, for the charity came to the Thanet Secondary Headteachers’ meeting to talk about the growing issue of homelessness in Thanet all of the headteachers were shocked by the statistics and vowed to work together to support this wonderful charity.   At the end of the last academic year all students in Thanet, aged 11 – 18, from whichever secondary school they attend, were encouraged to carry out a series of charity events in order to raise awareness of homelessness and money to support the work Porchlight does. 

Hartsdown Academy had a sleep out with students and staff, including the headteacher Matt Tate, sleeping on the ground out in the open air all night.  “Although it was summer it was still really cold and we had sleeping bags and coats,” said one student, “it really shows how hard it is to be homeless and I dread to think what it would be like in the winter.”    Other schools had non-uniform days, cake sales, parents’ coffee mornings, pyjama days, dance competitions and sponsored events.  Several of the schools opened food banks so that donations of food could be made and passed on to those who need it most.

As well as all of the activities, Porchlight went into schools to deliver assemblies and so encourage the young people of Thanet to talk about the terrible issue of having nowhere to live.

The total raised by the students was £6,730.44 which was presented to Porchlight at the first Thanet Headteachers’ meeting of this academic year.   

“It was brilliant to raise so much money for such a deserving cause.  The work Porchlight does is hugely important and the more we can raise the issues with our students, the more we can do to try to eradicate this dreadful social problem which should not be happening in the 21st century” said Kate Greig, Headteacher of Dane Court Grammar School and King Ethelbert School and Chair of Thanet Headteachers’ Forum.

“The Thanet secondary headteachers work closely together on a whole range of issues as we are determined to show that collectively we can do so much more for our students than if we work alone.  The leadership of Thanet schools is of a very high level and one of the reasons for this is that we work together and share ideas, resources, and opportunities.  We think the young people of Thanet are amazing and we want Thanet to be seen as the centre of excellence for education – they all deserve nothing less.” 

Nathan Tough, Porchlight said, “ A massive thank you to Kate and everyone at the Thanet Heads Forum for raising an incredible £6,730.44! This huge sum of money is incredibly important.  Porchlight knows that the best way out of poverty and homelessness is employment, and this money could enable our Work Health and Learning team to continue to work closely with our residents in Thanet to find a route into employment, and independence.    “We really hope that the students have enjoyed the experience, and now know that there is support there for them if ever they need it. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

Secondary schools involved were:  

The Charles Dickens School

Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School

Dane Court Grammar School

Hartsdown Academy

King Ethelbert School

St George’s Church of England Foundation School

The Royal Harbour Academy

Ursuline College