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    Why schools in Devon are looking ELF-y

    Schools are increasingly looking to engage with local charities for fundraising and curriculum enrichment opportunities and one charity that's doing great work with Devon schools is Exeter Leukaemia Fund - otherwise known as ELF!

    Elf's vision is to provide compassionate, tailored support for every family affected by blood cancers and blood disorders across the South West. It has been a registered charity since 1987 and was established by Dr Miles Joyner  to improve the lives of all patients with blood conditions through improved facilities, better equipment and research. Over the last 25 years ELF has spent over £4.5 million improving the lives of many thousands of people from all walks of life across the South West and one of its greatest achievements was the building of the RD&E Haematology Centre, which was officially opened in 2003. 

    I met Sarah Lakey, a fundraiser for ELF, at the South West Business Expo in March. She told me that ELF's work with schools is an essential part of their fundraising and outreach strategy and is something that the charity wishes to develop further. Schools are invited to name ELF as their nominated charity and in return they receive a fundraising pack full of fundraising idea, plus they can book talks and assemblies to raise pupils' awareness of blood disorders and cancers. 

    I used to teach at a school that did a lot of fundraising each year for nominated charities. We would host all sorts of events, from 'dress-down' days, to sponsored walks to school and huge cake sales. At the start of every year the children were offered four local or national charities to choose from, selected by the school council, and they then voted for their favourite. Over the course of the year the charity would come into school to do talks, provide learning resources and assist with fundraising and it was always really exciting to watch as the total raised went up and up. The children were thrilled to hand over the money at the end of the year!

    What a great thing for children and young people to be involved in. It fits well with the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools agenda and meets many of the Citizenship objectives, plus it develops empathy, compassion and knowledge and understanding about some of the issues and difficulties faced by people in the local area and beyond. 

    If you would like to find out more about ELF, book a talk, workshop or assembly or enquire about school fundraising opportunities with the charity, click here.

    If your charity would like to join School Visits Network, click here.

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