One of the Seckford Foundation governors, the Reverend Canon Kevan McCormack has been bestowed the great honour of becoming one of only 12 “honorary freemen of Woodbridge”.
Reverend McCormack started his community work in Woodbridge when he was made rector of St Mary’s Parish Church in 2001. He is also honorary chaplain to Ipswich Town Football Club, Suffolk Coastal District Council, Woodbridge Royal British Legion, The Seckford Foundation (The Seckford Chapel), officiating Chaplain to the Military and Chaplain to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Suffolk. He became a Canon in 2009 and in 2014 was appointed Chaplain to Her Majesty the Queen.
Now he can add “Honorary Freeman of Woodbridge” to that impressive list of achievements and titles.
Reverend McCormack was presented with the title by town mayor, councilor Geoff Holdcroft at a recent meeting of the Town Council after being nominated by members of the public for his great work in the community.
The award is given for “unsung but widespread work in the whole community and influence for good in the town”.
Rev McCormack humbly said “It’s a privilege as far as I’m concerned. I’ve not a clue what I’ve done to deserve it but I feel it says something about the church’s contribution to the life of the community.
“This town has so much going for it and I want to make people feel they can live and work together regardless of political or religious views.”Read More
Mr Brett spent ten years as director of music at King’s Hall Prep School in Taunton and then at Thomas’s Prep School in Battersea and during that time completed a Masters Degree in education at the Institute of Education in London. He was appointed Headmaster of St Mary’s prep school, Melrose in 1998 and he and his wife, Clare, spent 12 highly successful years at St Mary’s building the school’s reputation, developing resources and increasing pupil numbers, as well as bringing up their two sons.
He joins The Abbey from Old Buckenham Hall, where he took over as Headmaster in 2010 with a brief to help restore the school to former glories. Having achieved an excellent ISI inspection report in 2012 and with increased pupil numbers, he has recently been looking for a different opportunity to bring his passion for teaching and learning to a new setting.
Mr Brett said: “My real focus as a head and as a teacher is to help create and sustain an environment where children can become the best possible versions of themselves. We are all born with so many gifts and talents, the problem is that few of us ever really have the opportunity to develop these talents and find out where they might lead us. I am honoured to have been appointed as the new head of The Abbey. I have been struck by how warm and friendly the Woodbridge School community is and very much look forward to building on the exceptionally strong foundations that have been established by Nicholas Garrett at The Abbey.”
Neil Tetley, Headmaster at Woodbridge School said: “I am delighted that John is joining us as he very much shares our philosophy that education is ultimately about preparing young people for life and, while excellent examination results are important, they are not enough on their own. His experience and knowledge will help Woodbridge develop further as a caring, dynamic and academically exciting school that offers a wonderfully holistic education.”Read More
The Choir, conducted by Miss Claire Weston, sung through a beautiful repertoire of songs, including a highly impressive rendition of “Still Nacht” (Silent Night) in its original German version.
There were readings from residents and staff of the Almshouses, as well as a few traditional carols enjoyed by everybody and sung with as much enthusiasm by the residents as those in the choir!
All this, set amidst the backdrop of the beautiful “memory tree”, a Christmas tree that allows residents to remember those who are no longer with us, by writing the names of those they are thinking of on small cards that decorate the tree.
After the service, the choir, residents and staff all met up in the day room for refreshments and mince pies, just to add to the festive feeling!
The residents all enjoyed the visit of the choir and described the service as “wonderful”, “excellent” and that it made them “feel really Christmassy”. Others remarked how “the choir all looked very smart, especially the boys in their bow ties”.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at the Almshouses, said “ We are very fortunate to be able to hold such a wonderful, traditional service in the Seckford Chapel and year after year we are impressed by the great talent of the choristers “Read More
Suffolk Student, Melissa Postma, was focused on a place at University however was not enjoying the school environment in the run up to her final exams so decided to look around to see whether she could go straight into the workplace.
She realised that with few qualifications it would be difficult to gain work so decided to find out more about the apprenticeship route and her internet search led her to the Seckford Foundation.
“From the moment I joined the Foundation I felt at home as everyone was so friendly and because it is not a large operation you get to know people and they know you which makes a big difference,” Melissa explained.
Melissa joined the Human Resources (HR) department where she worked in addition to the fully staffed team so this meant she could learn alongside the members of staff on every day work.
Her apprenticeship was structured so she had one day away from work to study and do any necessary college visits. With technology in place Melissa was able to learn via the internet and as her training was with West Suffolk College this meant the portal route was invaluable in terms of saving time and travel for her.
“It’s a real eye-opener when you go from school into full-time work but because all the staff at the Foundation were so kind and helpful it made it all so much easier to settle in. Even though I was an apprentice they really made me feel part of the team,” Melissa added.
Melissa spent 14 months with the Foundation, gaining qualifications in business and administration as well as ICT. Then, armed with several different certificates, she decided to start looking at full-time posts in paid employment.
She explained: “I had enjoyed my work in HR so much that I was hoping to find a role in that area but as I started to look around I realised there were not many posts. I saw a role in HR with Willis in Ipswich and fortunately I was appointed as one of their HR advisors in a team of nine. I know the time and relevance of my work I did in my apprenticeship helped me to gain this role and I would recommend this route to anyone thinking about getting into work.”
Graham Watson, Director of the Seckford Foundation said: “Melissa’s success is a wonderful example of how we want our apprenticeship programme to work. With our method of helping young people to learn the disciplines and communication skills demanded in the competitive workplace we can show them the route to full-time paid employment.”Read More
The Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment as a governor and as chairman of the Finance committee Mr David Grant, to succeed John Carrington, who stood down last month after seven years as a governor and the past two years as Finance Committee chairman.
David trained as a chartered accountant, subsequently becoming a merchant banker with Guinness Mahon & Co, where he covered a full spectrum of activities, specialising in project finance to developing countries. In 1978 he moved into the commercial vehicle sector, first on the finance side and subsequently in general management. In the early 1980s he founded Orwell Trucks which, as majority shareholder and managing director he built up to become one of the leading Mercedes Benz truck and van distributors in the UK with branches across East Anglia. He sold the business in 2013, remaining as chairman until earlier this year.Read More
We are delighted to announce that Cathy O’Brien, Registered Manager of Jubilee House is the winner of the Great British Care Awards “Dignity in Care Award” for the Eastern Region. She was presented with the Trophy at a gala dinner, held in Peterborough on Friday 14th November. We are also extremely pleased to have been finalists in two other categories and celebrated the achievement of Hayley Youngs, as she was runner up in one of the two care worker awards. Additionally we were runners up in a new category, run for the first time this year, the award for “Housing with Care”
The Great British Care Awards are in their sixth year and the aim is to celebrate excellence in the social care sector with seventeen main awards being given, following a process of nominations, shortlisting, judging of shortlisted finalists by interview and final selection.
Ten Seckford staff attended the gala dinner, which brought together over 300 people representing a wide range of care providers from the Eastern region. There were about 80 finalists, either individuals or teams, and it was wonderful to see so many people gaining deserved recognition for delivering quality care, striving for excellence and making a real difference through their commitment and dedication.
Students and staff of Saxmundham Free School spent Remembrance Day undertaking a range of commemorative activities as part of their ‘Why Do We Remember’ day, which saw students remember and reflect upon the sacrifices of all those who have fallen in conflicts around the world.
Members of the Combined Cadet Force (pictured) laid a wreath at the town’s memorial during a service organised by the Royal British Legion and the Town Council.
A full day of classroom activities, within the normal curriculum, reflected the full purpose of Armistice Day at the school. Students undertook numeracy tasks connected to the War, began work on their entries for the national ‘Never Such Innocence’ poetry and art competition and were honoured to be joined by a World War 1 tank Commander, Albert Pond for a special World War 1 lunch menu in the school canteen.
All students and staff of the school observed an impeccable two-minute silence before Saskia Biggs played the last post.
The day of commemorations came to a close when students formed a giant human poppy as a mark of respect, a period of reflection followed for all those at the school.
Head teacher David Lees said “It was a truly historic day at Saxmundham Free School and it is difficult to put into words the impact that it will have had on every single student and member of staff. It was lovely to be able to create curriculum time for students to reflect and remember on Armistice Day – 100 Years. The attitude and engagement of the students on the day was first class …”
Mandy Hearle, from Woodbridge, is raising money for Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) in her 'Mission Possible' challenge in memory of 19-year-old Poppy Harvey, who in June 2010 suffered a fatal reaction to food.
Mandy's year long challenge saw her join residents at the Seckford Almshouses in their weekly chair-based exercise class.
The Almshouses team came up with the challenge, which saw residents and the Almshouses team donning Mandy's trademark pink outfits, balloons, feather boas, ribbons and spectacles.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, head of care at the Seckford Almshouses said: "The event was a huge success and by raising £106.25, it helped push Mandy's total raised so far this year to more than £6,000, far exceeding her original target. I think everyone enjoyed supporting such a good cause."Read More
Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy and midfielder Cole Skuse were at Coldfair Green Primary School, Saxmundham on Monday 13th October, to launch a brand new education initiative aimed at inspiring youngsters in literacy.
The ITFC Education Programme, which has been created by-Ipswich Town Football Club and is sponsored by the Foundation, focuses on Key Stage 2 reading, writing and listening skills, helping children to develop their abilities through real-life learning.
Schools across Suffolk will have the opportunity to access the ITFC Creative Writing Project as part of the ITFC Education Programme, where students have the chance to become real-life journalists for the day by interviewing Ipswich Town players who visit their school.
With the support of learning resources created by the Football Club, pupils will prepare for the players’ visit and be asked to produce an article either for a newspaper, a football programme or a website. The aim is to have a selection of articles from each school published in a children’s matchday programme composed entirely of the pupils’ work.
“It’s an exciting initiative and one that that the players and myself will be involved with and supporting through the year,” said Mick McCarthy.
Cole Skuse, who has taken on the role of schools Ambassador at the Club, added: “If football can be used as a tool to encourage youngsters to learn, then I’m all for it.”
Ipswich Town Managing Director Ian Milne said: “This is an initiative that our Public Relations Manager, Jade Cole, has been working on for a number of months. We enlisted the help of Educational Consultant Nadine Avenal to ensure we understood as a Football Club, how we can effectively support local schools.
“We are delighted to be in a position to launch the project thanks to the support of the Seckford Foundation and are pleased to announce Coldfair Green Primary School as the first official school to take up the ITFC Education Programme and in doing so, become a ‘Friend of Ipswich Town Football Club’.”
Roger Finbow, the Seckford Foundation’s Chairman of the Governors, said: “Through its established links with education, the Seckford Foundation firmly believes in the value of gaining good literacy skills at an early age. This exciting project brings a hugely popular sport into the classroom and we hope it will encourage many young pupils in Suffolk to become more interested in their reading and writing skills. By using both the football and the media connections we hope it will appeal to many schools and we look forward to watching the progress over the coming year.”
Picture courtesy of East Anglian Daily Times.Read More
The Seckford Foundation is expanding its apprenticeship programme which provides the perfect stepping stone to the workplace.
Two young apprentices are enjoying their first week with the Foundation in Woodbridge, where one will work with the maintenance team and the second will work on painting and decorating. This expansion of the programme has only been made possible by generous funding from The Frank Jackson Foundation which has its roots in Woodbridge.
These new recruits mean the Foundation has provided a starting point for six young people who were finding the pathway to work challenging after leaving school.
Jack Mayhew (17) and Daniel Sheppard (17) will work in a team for two years and will benefit from time off to gain college qualifications while they are at work.
On arrival they are given an individual learning plan and by working alongside experienced members of staff they can learn skills for future employment and life skills in terms of being in the workplace.
Both roles are super-numerary to each department which means the team within that department can give each apprentice the necessary time to develop.
Graham Watson, director of the Seckford Foundation said: “The Frank Jackson Foundation heard about our apprenticeship programme through one of our trustees which led to them joining us in a partnership for two years for which we are very grateful. This important connection with The Frank Jackson Foundation means we can provide two more young people with real opportunities for the future.
“Some young people find the workplace quite daunting and so we believe our programme, within small teams, can be the start they need to build skills and confidence and ultimately to gain secure full time work,” Mr Watson added.
The trustees of The Frank Jackson Foundation said they feel very happy and rather proud to be associated with this project.Read More