This July, six schools participated in the first-ever GDST multi-school telephone campaign. The schools included in this pilot project were Howell’s School, Llandaff, Newcastle High School for Girls, Portsmouth High School, Sheffield High School for Girls, South Hampstead High School and Wimbledon High School.
Three young alumnae from each school became ‘callers’, making up a team of 18 callers for the two-week campaign. During the evenings and at weekends, they called alumnae from their former school, sharing news and updates and reminiscing about their school days. They also spoke with former members of the parent and staff communities.
The telephone campaign not only strengthened relationships between the schools and their communities, but it was also an opportunity to share their philanthropic vision and seek support. Across the GDST family, we want to transform the futures of as many girls as possible, whatever their circumstances, by growing our bursary programme. Our priority therefore is to increase the number of bursaries that our schools can offer, so that talented and ambitious girls from a range of backgrounds can access a GDST education. Many alumnae, former parents and former staff made donations to the schools’ bursary funds during the campaign, raising a total of £121,000 across the six schools.
In addition, we received many offers from alumnae to further support their school and its current students by returning to give a careers talk, acting as a mentor and offering work experience placements.
During the campaign we spoke to over 750 members of our community. The recipients of the calls really enjoyed their conversations and our team of callers gained valuable paid work experience. One of our callers was Leah, who has just finished Year 13 at Sheffield Girls’. She says,
“I applied to be a telephone campaign caller as I personally benefited from bursary funding during my time at Sheffield Girls’. I am incredibly grateful for this and loved the idea of being able to help give another girl the same opportunity to experience all that I did at school.
I gained so much from taking part in the telephone campaign. No two calls were ever the same, which meant that I learned a lot and was able to develop my communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills on a completely new level. I received some great advice from alumnae – specific to my career interests and more generally – all of which I was very grateful for and am sure will be incredibly valuable as I move into Higher Education.”
A second GDST telephone campaign will run this December for another six schools – Brighton Girls, Croydon High School, Norwich High School for Girls, Notting Hill & Ealing High School, Nottingham Girls’ High School and Streatham & Clapham High School.