RSA8 The Good in Us – Holyhead School Case Study

The RSA8 Leadership Programme was founded in 2014 to help develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills in students through a variety of social action campaigns. The project centres around giving 10 students in Year 8 the opportunity to raise awareness of and support local and global social issues important to them, such as climate change, mental health and poverty. Holyhead School continues to provide its pupils with student leadership opportunities through a range of youth-led social action initiatives. Here we share a guest case study from Alka Mistry, Community & Events Manager, and RSA8 Lead at Holyhead School.

Read the full case study here

Soho in Bloom – 2018

Sustainability was the theme of the Soho in Bloom project where the main campaign goal was to help improve the surroundings of the Soho Road Handsworth area. By working together with various people the RSA8 students planted thousands of flowers along Holyhead and Soho Road, and also created a tranquil garden on the school site for Year 7 students transitioning to secondary school.

After the hard work and commitment to the community and RSA8 students put in, we were awarded a Silver Guild Award for our efforts. This project has broken down barriers in the community and since then local neighbours have approached the school and commended the students on their hard work and commenting on the pride they now have in their local area. As the project was such a success, this year’s RSA8 cohort have continued the legacy, leading 60 fellow students to plant again with the aim to receive a Gold award.

Tackling food poverty – 2019

Food poverty is a prevalent issue in our local community on a daily basis. With this problem being close to the hearts of many students and some experiencing it first hand, RSA8 students were passionate about supporting the local food bank. After researching and making links with the food bank, Trussell Trust, the students had valuable insight into the diverse background of those who use this resource.

Students started their campaign by presenting to Ross Trafford, Principal of Holyhead School, and then the issue was addressed though many coordinated assemblies across the school to raise awareness, encourage donations of essentials and fundraising for Trussell Trust. This was hugely successful and both students and teachers brought in over 400 products to donate, ranging from food items, nappies and personal hygiene products.RSA8 also teamed up with global company GSK who provided 150 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes to promote oral hygiene.

The RSA8 students took great pride in taking all of the items to the food bank themselves and the donations ensured the food bank was stocked during the summer holidays, where many parents/carers struggle to provide.

Period Poverty – 2019

Alongside the fight against food poverty, RSA8 students were inspired by Julie, an ex-Holyhead School student who had experience financial hardship as a child and was unable to afford proper sanitary products, impacting on her right to an education. Julie currently supports RSA8 in its goal to provide sanitary products for all females. This, teamed with the recent headlines on ‘Tampon Tax’, promoted the creation of the “Red Box” in school. This box contains various products and is anonymously available for all girls helping to reduce teenage anxiety. RSA8 students put up posters in the girls’ toilets informing girls of where to locate the Red Boxes and students led assemblies to educate the entire student body on this important issue.

The Power of Youth

The work does not end here! Future projects will be centered around more environmentally friendly endeavours as this is an issue which affects all of humanity. RSA8 students want to help fight for climate change, making small changes to create a big impact and raising vital awareness in the local community that will help to meet this vision.

Overall, the RSA8 programme has allowed the students to have a focus, be challenged, push boundaries, gain confidence, enhance leadership skills and improve on communications skills. Most importantly, they have become well-rounded ambassadors. They have exemplified excellent character through the RSA8 mantra of being champions of real causes through the vehicle of social action. Through this process, this year’s cohort have created a Holyhead School RSA8 brand called #TheGoodInUs, logo and a vision statement to ensure these projects have a lasting legacy.

Our vision is to not see any families suffering in our community and inspire the next generation to have a safer environment to avoid starvation for a  brighter future.

“I am inspired, motivation and full of pride” – RSA8 Student Leader

They are the future of tomorrow and have proven that they can make positive changes through hard work and compassion. This year’s RSA8 cohort has committed to continue building on social action throughout their school and personal lives, with the aim to always challenge perceptions and bring out the #TheGoodInUs.

Related project: RSA8 Student Leadership Programme