Bedales Community Festival Raises Thousands for Charities

Posted on 26th September 2016

Bedales Community Festival drew people from far and wide last weekend during the annual celebration in recognition of Bedales' founder, John Haden Badley.

Visitors were treated to an array of displays which included birds of prey, a petting zoo and hands-on activities including code-breaking, climbing wall, cake decorating, pizza baking and sand art. An activity tent set up by Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie, kept the under 8s entertained and live music and refreshments based around the pavilion proved a hit with visitors (view photos).

The Festival raised £2,300 for charities. Throughout the year students are heavily involved in charitable activities echoing the founder’s emphasis on educating ‘head, hand and heart’. This year’s beneficiaries are Mencap, Home-Start Butser and the King’s Arms youth project in Petersfield.

Regional Project Manager at Mencap, Anna Oliffe said: “it’s a real privilege to be able to work in partnership with Bedales by delivering learning disability awareness sessions to students and then see them put learning into practice while working with adults with a learning disability as part of the Community Festival. The people we support get an enormous amount out of the day and really appreciate the opportunity to try new activities in such a beautiful setting.”

This year’s celebration was the busiest to date, with more than 500 people in attendance and around 30 different workshops taking place over the two days.

Ms Oliffe added: “The funds raised by Bedales Schools enable people with a learning disability to participate in leisure activities that they may never have experienced before, with last year’s funding supporting a Mencap local group to take a holiday.” 

The festival is part of the wider ‘Badley Celebration Weekend’ held in celebration of the educational principles of the school’s founder, and is one of the most significant events in the three schools’ calendar. Students and staff take part in a ‘whole school effort’ (view photos) reflecting the schools’ motto ‘work of each for weal of all’ on the Saturday; this usually involves grounds maintenance, hedge laying, or path laying – this year’s projects included clearing overgrown shrubland to prepare for the school’s livestock and other ground clearance and landscaping. Pupils, staff and parents from Bedales Prep School, Dunhurst ended their efforts with a group walk to the Poet’s Stone at Ashford Hangers.