A PENARTH six-year-old has been recognised by Vale of Glamorgan Council after his campaign to help the homeless saw Fairfield Primary School donate more than 60 Winter Warner Bags to those sleeping rough in South Wales.
Gethin Pritchard, a pupil at Fairfield, was only two when he spotted people sitting on the street in Cardiff and asked mum Tammy about them.
On learning they had nowhere to live, Gethin was concerned and wanted to help.
Assisted by brother Zak and sisters Alissa and Ellie-Mai, what began with donations of hot drinks soon stretched to food and then giftcards for local coffee shops and bakeries.
But Gethin wasn’t finished there.
He asked his schoolmates to help and together they started collecting even more supplies for the homeless. Such was the response, a total of 64 aid bags containing the likes of thermal hats, scarves, gloves, toiletries as well as other items were donated by parents and distributed to those on the streets by charity Huggard. Businesses also joined the effort, with Lenstec Optical Group in Caerphilly raising more than £200 towards items for bags.
Gethin and his schoolmates are now planning an even more ambitious project to collect waterproof sleeping bags and tents for the homeless.
In recognition of that effort, Gethin and other pupils at the school were recently presented with special certificates by Vale Council Deputy Leader Lis Burnett.
“When we heard what Gethin and his fellow pupils at Fairfield Primary School had done, we felt it should not go unnoticed,” said Cllr Burnett.
“With the encouragement and support of the school, these pupils are a shining example of good citizenship. They show great compassion at such a young age and are a credit to themselves, their families and their school. As a past pupil of the school, I was absolutely delighted to join the Chief Executive of the Huggard Centre at a recent school assembly to award the pupils Social Awareness Certificates in recognition of their kind work.”
Tammy Pritchard said: “The school was fantastic at getting on board with it all and really helping. I mentioned it to one teacher and they thought it was a brilliant idea. Then it was put to the School Council, who were right behind it as well.”
Father Tony Pritchard said:
“When Gethin came up with the idea of the bags it was a bit of a headscracher in terms of how we were going to do it.
“Luckily the school were amazing. Without them we wouldn’t have got this off the ground.
“Some of the kids’ families really went to town. We had jackets, trousers and hoodies. We want to say a big thank you to them.”
Fairfield Headteacher Sian Lewis said: “We were approached by Mrs Pritchard and Gethin and straight away the School Council were supportive and wanted to get behind his initiative.
“We shared the idea with the children and had a wonderful response from them and their families. An incredible amount of stuff was brought in and we’re just so proud of them and especially Gethin.
“As part of the curriculum we talk to the children about being good citizens and having good values. This is a very good example of how they put that into action.”
Huggard Chief Executive Richard Edwards said: “Something like this certainly raises awareness and I think that’s the most important thing about it.
“This is a very important first step in getting people to a position where they want to do something. After that it’s about finding the most effective thing we can do to get someone off the streets.”