Sixth formers at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, west London, are running a soup kitchen for the homeless every month.
This is a long-standing commitment fulfilled by the school’s Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) group. The kitchen is based at St John’s church in Mattock Lane, West Ealing, on a Saturday and Sunday.
Upper sixth student Tess Fawcett, who is this year’s president of the sixth form SVP, said: “We have around 20 members in our group, so we have a duty rota, with eight of us attending once a month between 3 pm and 5 pm on a Saturday and Sunday. Half of us work in the kitchen preparing the meals and washing up, while the others serve the homeless people who attend that day. The soup kitchen has an average attendance of 30 people.”
The sixth form SVP also helps out on a regular basis at Mencap’s Enterprise Lodge in Stockdove Road, Perivale.
Headmaster Chris Cleugh founded the SVP at St Benedict’s nine years ago when he took over the headship. He continues to be the group’s staunchest supporter.
“I am delighted that St Benedict’s School has one of the largest active school SVP groups in the country,” he said. “The sixth formers are responsible for all the organisational aspects. I believe that responding to the needs of others is an important element of the education we offer and an inseparable part of our school ethos.”
St Benedict’s School also runs a middle school (11-14 years) SVP group and upper school (14-16 years) SVP group.