On Sunday 26 June, Haberdashers’ Girls’ School and Haberdashers’ Boys’ School hosted the 2022 Habs Mencap Funday, which was organised by a committee of 12 Lower Sixth and Year 11 students from
our two schools.

Around 270 student volunteers from both schools looked after our guests, children between the ages of 5 and 16 with physical and learning disabilities. We were further supported by around 40 colleagues from both schools. We are extremely grateful for the generous donations from our Habs families. It is their generosity, which enabled us to host the event.

Each child was looked after by two, sometimes three students, depending on the need of care. The children are then able to participate in various games, arts and crafts, dance, or simply enjoy the chance to run in the open spaces. Each of these activities was led by other student volunteers. Further attractions included face painting, bouncy castles, a ball pool, a coconut shy and bubble shows. On top of this, Chris McGeever (OH 2006) again mesmerised us all with his magic show.

After a two-year hiatus and autumn restrictions delaying the start of our preparations, this year has been particularly challenging for our Mencap Committee, as only very few students had had any opportunity to experience a Mencap Funday before. Therefore, many of the seemingly obvious elements had to be re-learned, the school’s forgotten memory revived, and the vast team of helpers (staff and students) across the schools retrained. It is a credit to the attitude and resilience of the Committee that they managed to organise all the Mencap activities with commitment and ultimate success.

As always at the Funday, the work of all our students is a sight to behold. From the moment the guest families arrived in the coach car park, they were welcomed with warmth, smiles and care by our students. It is difficult to exaggerate the maturity that the students display, with which they take charge of the day and, importantly, with which they support each other.

We are very grateful again for the generous support from Mencap via their Barnet office, most importantly through Reshma Hirani, the Mencap Hate Crime Reporting Co-ordinator. Reshma provided invaluable advice for the training of our volunteers. Many of our regular guests’ parents tell us that the day is one of the very highlights of the year for the families, one that both children and parents look forward to for weeks and weeks. The messages are moving and a joy to share with our student volunteers. Indeed, given the aforementioned context, they may also underline that our Funday
might now just be more important than ever.

Mencap committee:

1. Ali D (Girls’ School)
2. Eden D (Girls’ School)
3. Krish (Boys’ School, Co-Chair)
4. Kishan (Boys’ School)
5. Michael (Boys’ School)
6. Arun (Boys’ School)
7. Tanush (Boys’ School)
8. Ishaani P (Girls’ School)
9. Sienna P (Girls’ School)
10. Tabby P (Girls’ School, Co-Chair)
11. Dylan (Boys’ School)
12. Evie S (Girls’ School)