Pupils at Highfield Leadership Academy took inspiration from the resilience of the Grenfell community to show support for those in need closer to home.

Grenfell United, the community organisation that sprung up in the aftermath of the tragedy one year ago, urged local communities to make a difference in their local areas to mark the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Our school seized the opportunity to arrange a collection for Blackpool Food Bank, encouraging pupils and staff to donate items of non-perishable food. Together we collected boxes and boxes of foodstuffs that will help to support people living in food poverty in Blackpool.

Assemblies at Highfield Leadership Academy in the week leading up to the anniversary of the towerblock fire focused on remembering the victims of Grenfell and others affected by the tragedy.

Pupils were encouraged to share messages of love and solidarity with the Grenfell community by writing them on green hearts and hanging them from the Friendship Tree that stands in our reception area.

Highfield pupils and staff fell silent with the nation as they observed the 72 second silence at midday on Thursday 14 June, and supported Green For Grenfell Day on Friday 15 June by wearing green accessories with their school uniform in a show of support.

Helen Mackenzie, our Executive Principal, said:

“Although we are almost 250 miles away from Grenfell, our pupils still appreciate the pain those directly affected by the tragedy must have felt – and continue to feel. Indeed, we have pupils who lost loved ones in the tragedy last June. Our young people wanted to come together in a show of unity with the survivors of Grenfell and the bereaved families and friends by sharing their thoughts on our Friendship Tree and supporting Green For Grenfell Day.”

Principal Louise Riley added:

“Inspired by the community of Grenfell pulling together, our pupils used the Grenfell anniversary to take positive action to make things better for people living in our local community. Our donations to Blackpool Food Bank will support local families going through tough times and I’m proud of the efforts of our pupils and staff in co-ordinating the collection.”

Year 10 pupil Michaela Lloyd said:

“We were inspired by Grenfell United’s letter which asked us to make a difference in our local area. If people who are missing their loved ones can make an effort to change lives, then so can we. There are over 9,000 children in Blackpool that live in food deprivation so we should do something.”

Year 8 pupil Marc Fenwick added:

“I am one of Highfield Helpers. I think it is important to take part in all the Grenfell activities.  It made me sad to see what happened and I hope the people in London and our friends at HLA know that we are thinking of them.”

Neil Reid from Blackpool Food Bank added:

“Thank you to everyone at Highfield Leadership Academy for your generosity. I hope you all feel a real sense of satisfaction in helping our cause as we have found that ‘There is nothing better for the human heart than reaching down and lifting people up.’ What you have done will lift people’s heads and lift their spirit. You will make a difference to real lives who are less fortunate than yourselves.”