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Our charities-themed Inspire Me event, in March 2015, saw a panel of four speakers presenting at our 'Third Sector' event, chaired by Mrs Alison Wall, Head of Senior School.

Our first speaker was Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, who not only ran the National Trust, and previously the Campaign To Protect Rural England (interestingly now run by Sir Andrew Motion, another speaker we have been lucky enough to have here at The Stephen Perse Foundation) she is an Executive member of the BBC and has been actively involved with various other organisations. Fiona is now Master of Emmanuel College here in Cambridge.

Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE - Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and former Director General of the National Trust.

We heard how Dame Fiona turned around the Trust from an organisation known for 'looking after buildings' to one which actively engages communities and volunteers, the 50 Things to do before you are 11 3/4 campaign and book, and all the changes in the organisation that Fiona implemented to make it more accessible across our communities. Her own inspiration was Octavia Hill, one of the National Trust founders, and her initial passion for the outdoors has led her through all these challenges with different organisations. One of the facts we learnt was that you are three times as likely to fall out of bed as a child than out of a tree - Fiona had a real passion for getting families outside, together, and doing activities that brought them closer to nature and their communities.

We then heard from one of our Year 11 students, Felicity Ray, who presented a collaborative presentation she worked on with our panel guests on the fundraising the school has done since before WWII for Barnardo’s, and how important this sort of fundraising is for charities. The school has raised over £65K and we heard about the huge changes in the charity and the way they run and deliver services, and the opportunities there are for both volunteering, and also as a career in the voluntary sector.

In addition to our two speakers, we welcomed two other panel guests - Sophie Broadfield - an alumna of our school, and who worked for Barnardo’s, and now works for HM Treasury as Head of Public Service Reform, and Janet Meredith - Community Fundraising Volunteer Manager for Barnardo’s who has worked with the school on many of our Barnardo’s days.

Our speakers and panel members took a brilliant Q&A, inspiring our students and parents to look at the voluntary sector as a career option, or one that can enrich through volunteering. Thank you to our audience who kindly raised nearly £100 for Barnardo's at the retiring collection.