Visit to Beneficiaries 2019

The Master, Wardens and members of the Court were delighted to have the opportunity to visit some of the beneficiaries of the Dame Alice Owen Foundation (DAOF) last week.  The DAOF is the largest charity administered by the Brewers’ Company, which in 2018 distributed £1,715,000 to its beneficiaries.

The visit began in Islington, where the charity supports a range of educational projects.  At St Lukes Primary School the visitors met students who are participating in the Philosophy 4 Children programme, which engages learners in thought-provoking dialogue in response to intriguing stimulus material and seeks to deepen children’s caring, creative, collaborative and critical thinking.  After this the group moved on to Elizabeth Garret Anderson School, where students participating in the Music in Secondary Schools Trust (MiSST) programme, which provides classical musical instruments and free group tuition to all students in selected year groups, performed for them.  There was also an opportunity for a round table discussion about the Guildhall Young Artists Islington Programme (GYA-IP), a new project in collaboration with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama whose mission is “to excite and inspire children and young people in Islington to develop a lifelong love of music and the arts”.  The visitors were encouraged to hear about the success of the programme so far in engaging with primary school students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  Finally, the group was pleased to receive an update on Science for Life, a collaborative project which seeks address the problem of limited and imbalanced science aspirations among school children and young people in the UK.

In the afternoon, the group moved on to Dame Alice Owen’s School (DAOS) in Potters Bar, the other major beneficiary of the charity.  The School, which was named Sunday Times State School of the Year in 2017, has continued to excel in the last year thanks to the dedication of its staff and students.  The visitors had the opportunity to meet with the Pastoral Team and find out more about key issues facing the emotional wellbeing of students and how the school supports the students.  They went on to visit the site of the new Teaching Block, whose construction is being supported by the DAOF.  The build is progressing well and should be complete in time for the start of the 2019-20 academic year.  After this, the group visited the grounds of the School,  whose excellent quality enable students to excel in all areas of sporting endeavour.  In addition to excelling on the sporting field, the school is able to provide extensive musical opportunities to its students and has an excellent reputation in this area.  The visitors were therefore delighted to be treated to performances from various musical ensembles which were all extremely impressive.

These annual visits are not only a chance to see the positive impact of the work supported by the DAOF, they are also an essential opportunity for the Court of the Brewers Company, which acts as Trustee to the charity, to receive feedback, have discussions and see what is being delivered to beneficiaries on the ground.  As always, the Brewers’ Company is grateful to all those who participated in and supported this day.

Photograph: Members of the visiting party prepare to visit the site of the new Teaching Block at Dame Alice Owen’s School