| Share

The Coronavirus pandemic affects all of us, and those with the least are often the hardest hit.

Like many of us, over the past few weeks, I have had much to be grateful for: health and security, of course, but the small things, too. Like the fact that my job translates well to this new online-world. For the first time since I joined Highgate in 2014, I’m not spending two hours a day on the Northern line; I have more time to cook, to read, to be grateful for all the things we are often too busy to notice we’re grateful for.

Despite this, I have also had periods of feeling immensely guilty about my relative privilege. These waves tended to happen on a Sunday night, as I wondered what the week ahead could be looking like for people whose life was suddenly looking very different.

Like for some students at Highgate’s sister school, the London Academy of Excellence, Tottenham.

The school is situated in one of the most deprived wards in the country. Over half of students were eligible for free school meals at secondary school. Some members of their student body have already experienced bereavements in their immediate family.

Since September 2019, I’ve worked a day a week at LAET, as their Fundraising Lead – helping the school raise money for areas of additional need. I have worked at Highgate for six years, my primary responsibility raising money for our charitable objectives: to enhance educational opportunities. My role in Highgate’s partnership with LAET has been one of the aspects of my working life that has given me the most joy.

As someone who ‘endured’ a rather challenging state secondary school before going to the University of Oxford, I really do see the difference a school like this can make: I often talk to the school friends I’m still in touch with about how much we would have thrived at a school like LAET.

And so this Sunday night felt really quite different, as I knew that this week we would be talking about how to start dispersing the money we had raised as part of the LAE Tottenham Covid-19 Appeal.

LAET wanted to establish this fund to ensure students – and their families and communities – are supported through this crisis now and in the months to come
Amongst other things, this fund will enable us to:

  • Provide immediate financial and practical support to meet the impact of this crisis on our students and their families.
  • To help our students and the wider Tottenham community by providing financial support to those institutions who are at the front line of the community response such as the Tottenham Food Bank and the Felix Project.
  • To support those members of the LAET community from the most deprived backgrounds on an ongoing basis through a hardship fund

We want to make sure we are able to support students, for as long as our support is needed.

At the time of writing, over £75,000 has been donated by well over 100 supporters. The difference this will make cannot be overstated.

On a smaller level, for myself and other supporters, the feeling of contributing to a positive force, bigger than us as individuals, will help assuage some of these Sunday-night-blues.

To add your support to the campaign, click here

Emily Clarke About the author
Emily Clarke
Emily has been in various positions within Highgate’s Development Office since 2014. She’s now Campaign Director, raising money to extend educational opportunity through our bursary provision and our partnerships. Emily also oversees our OC activities, and is Fundraising Lead at LAE Tottenham. She likes running, yoga and – to cancel out the worthiness (her words not ours!) – craft beer.