Charity celebrates 30 years of supporting Alnwick students

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Alnwick charity, BOOST, which works in partnership with the Duchess’s Community High School, has celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The Duchess’s High School Trust was established in 1994 to provide additional learning opportunities for students.

In 2020, the potential of the Trust to provide charitable support during the Covid pandemic became clear and a new board of trustees was appointed.

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Since then, the charity has gone from strength to strength and now supports regular activities for young people which would not otherwise be available.

Founder charity trustee and former DCHS headteacher Roy Todd is pictured cutting the celebration cake with co-headteachers James Wilson and Alan Rogers, High Sheriff of Northumberland Lucia Bridgeman, Mayor Geoff Watson and BOOST chair Katherine Williams. Picture: Jane ColtmanFounder charity trustee and former DCHS headteacher Roy Todd is pictured cutting the celebration cake with co-headteachers James Wilson and Alan Rogers, High Sheriff of Northumberland Lucia Bridgeman, Mayor Geoff Watson and BOOST chair Katherine Williams. Picture: Jane Coltman
Founder charity trustee and former DCHS headteacher Roy Todd is pictured cutting the celebration cake with co-headteachers James Wilson and Alan Rogers, High Sheriff of Northumberland Lucia Bridgeman, Mayor Geoff Watson and BOOST chair Katherine Williams. Picture: Jane Coltman

This includes providing breakfast snacks every day for any student who needs a boost when they arrive in school, supporting well-being specialists to provide one-to-one interventions for young people in need, providing resources for a range of lunchtime clubs, supporting activities such as Pride Club which celebrate diversity and bringing high quality performances and cultural experiences into school for students and the wider community.

In 2023, a new Discretionary Hardship Fund was launched, providing financial support so that more families and individual young people can access out of school trips and experiences as well as providing essential items such as uniform, PE kit and self care items for young people when needed.

The charity is now known as BOOST after a new identity was launched last year.

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Katherine Williams, chair, explains: “Having a new name and a new look has been really important for our charity – after almost 30 years, we needed to reinvent ourselves.

Students from the cookery club made and served canapes. Picture: Jane ColtmanStudents from the cookery club made and served canapes. Picture: Jane Coltman
Students from the cookery club made and served canapes. Picture: Jane Coltman

"The name BOOST stands for Building Opportunities for Our Students Together and we feel it better describes who we are and what we do. Importantly, we now have an identity which is separate to the school: we work together to make a difference for young people but we are not part of the school organisation.”

Its work was praised by Mayor Geoff Watson at an anniversary celebration.

He said: “Alnwick Town Council was delighted to present BOOST with a Mayor’s Civic Award a few weeks ago in recognition of the good work they do and we have previously supported them with a grant.

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"It is run by a team of dedicated trustees who are all volunteers and is supported by many DCHS staff, parents and members of the community who give up their time to deliver activities.”To support BOOST visit https://boost-dchs.org/build-with-us/

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