I am pleased to announce that the Board of Governors of the Seckford Foundation has appointed Clive Schlee as its new Chairman, succeeding Roger Finbow who retires from the role at the end of February. Clive will bring a broad range of experience to the Foundation, after spending the last sixteen years as Chief Executive of Pret A Manger.
Clive helped to grow Pret into a billion-pound business with strong values and over 500 stores in ten countries. Prior to that he spent 17 years in restaurants and financial services at Jardine Matheson & Co Ltd, the Hong Kong based conglomerate. He is also Chairman of Itsu, the London based sushi chain.
During his career, Clive has a track record of giving back to the community. He championed the Pret Foundation, greatly increasing its income and starting to offer jobs and accommodation to the homeless in addition to distributing unsold food to hostels every night.
Clive spent much of his childhood in Suffolk and has lived in Bromeswell for over 20 years. Following his retirement from Pret in October last year, he plans to spend more time in Suffolk and hopes to use his business experience to help the local community.
Roger Finbow, our current Chairman, said: “It has been a great privilege to be Chairman of the Seckford Foundation over a ten year period which has witnessed many changes in the fields in which the Foundation is active. I am delighted that Clive has been appointed to succeed me and am confident that he will find the role as challenging and enjoyable as I have.”
Clive Schlee said: “It is an honour to be able to serve the Foundation as it plays such an important role in the lives of so many people in Woodbridge and Suffolk.”
The Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir Christmas Concert welcomed a packed audience at Woodbridge Methodist Church for their performance on Wednesday 4 December led by choir director Megan Peel.
The Choir were joined by students from Barnabas Pre School, St Mary’s Primary School, Woodbridge Prep School and SET Saxmundham School. A number of festive classics – old and new – were performed including Once in Royal David’s City, Little Donkey and Believe from Polar Express.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “We are proud to collaborate with school groups to present this intergenerational concert featuring performers aged from three to 99. The opportunity to sing alongside other choirs has been a wonderful way to start the festive period.”
The large audience were invited to join in with Christmas favourites and congregated after the concert with refreshments including mince pies made by Seckford Care residents.
The Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir was launched in February 2017 and comprises residents, their families and staff from Seckford Almshouses, Jubilee House and Grove Court. The Choir is funded by Comic Relief.
A retiring collection was made for St Elizabeth HospiceRead More
Woodbridge School, a leading independent school in the East of England, has appointed Ms Shona Norman as Head.
Ms Norman’s appointment comes at the end of a comprehensive and thorough selection process that saw nearly 30 candidates from across the country and abroad apply for the role. The selection panel, which concluded its findings on Friday 15th November, came to a unanimous decision to invite Shona to become the next Head.
Seckford Foundation Chair, Roger Finbow said: “We are delighted with the outcome of this extensive selection process and our decision to invite Shona to lead our school. Experience, style, competency and cultural fit were critical aspects of our decision and Shona stood out as a clear leader with the right vision and values. Today, Woodbridge offers a rich and vibrant learning environment for students of 4 to 18 and we are excited to give Shona the opportunity to build on the great work she has done for the School over the last 17 years and lead the School on to an even brighter future.”
Shona has been Woodbridge School’s Acting Head for the last six months and will officially assume the Head position on the 1st of January 2020.
Ms Norman commented: “I am truly honoured to be given the opportunity to help our community write the next chapter for this fabulous and unique school. At Woodbridge School, we have one of the best learning cultures of any education establishment, an expert and committed teaching staff, and over 750 vibrant and engaging pupils. I’m very grateful to the board and governors of the Seckford Foundation for the trust they have put in me to lead our school, and realise the many opportunities that lie ahead.”
Shona Norman Biography
After completing her A Levels at Wisbech Grammar School in Cambridgeshire, Shona studied for a degree in English Literature at London University. Upon completion of this, she obtained her PGCE from Cambridge University before being appointed as a Teacher of English at Woodbridge School in September 2002. During her time at Woodbridge, Shona has been promoted to the positions of Housemistress, Extended Project Qualification Co-Ordinator, Deputy Head (Pastoral) and Senior Deputy before stepping into the role of Acting Head in May 2019. Whilst Deputy, Shona chose to return to Cambridge University to complete her Masters in Educational Leadership and School Improvement; she remains part of their Leadership for Learning initiative.
Regarded by her staff and students as an inspirational leader and an outstanding teacher, Shona is passionate about student welfare inside and outside of the classroom and in ensuring that every child is recognised as an individual, preparing them to excel in the future world.
Shona is married to Michael who serves in the Royal Marines.
For more information about Woodbridge School, visit www.woodbridgeschool.org.ukRead More
Woodbridge Dementia Project has been announced winner of the 2019 Enabling Communities Award, sponsored by East Suffolk Council.
Launched in April 2018 by the Seckford Foundation, in a drive to make Woodbridge a dementia friendly community, the project is all about working in partnership with a coalition of organisations and individuals in and around Woodbridge, including Gotelee Solicitors, East Suffolk District Council, the East of England Co-op and Woodbridge Rotary Club.
The aim is to engage the local community, including businesses, family carers and people living with dementia to help make Woodbridge a dementia-friendly town.
As part of the East Suffolk Business & Community Awards the public were invited to vote on the finalist projects, which were shortlisted from all the community projects that have received funding from the East Suffolk Enabling Communities Budget or Exemplar Grant over the past 18 months.
Cathy O’Brien, who leads the Woodbridge Dementia Project said “It is great news that the Woodbridge Dementia Project has received this recognition from the East Suffolk Business & Community Awards. For this award to be from a public vote makes it extra special; we’d like to send out our heartfelt thanks to everyone who voted for this wonderful project. We look forward to continuing to work with the local community to make Woodbridge a dementia friendly town.”Read More
Efforts by Woodbridge-based care provider Seckford Care to go the extra mile for their residents have been acknowledged at the Suffolk Care Awards, with the organisation winning in one category and coming highly commended in another.
Seckford Care won the Excellent Stimulating Environments for Service Users Award for the organisation’s positive and proven approach to using a range of activities to achieve positive outcomes for those accessing the service. Seckford Care offers a person-centred, stimulating environment that changes and adapts to meet the needs and wishes of the residents. There is always something going on at Seckford Care with the activities co-ordinator continually adding to what is on offer, with a focus on providing for the individual.
Seckford Care was also listed as Highly Commended in the Excellent Service Delivery category, which demonstrates that the service as a whole has delivered care and support over and above that which would usually be expected and has made a positive contribution in supporting service users’ lives.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “The staff and residents are really delighted to hear that Seckford Care won the award and were also finalists in another category. The team works so hard to ensure each day is as best it can be for everyone living here and receiving our services. It was a superb evening, a real celebration of all the great care that is being delivered across Suffolk.”Read More
Students and teachers at SET Ixworth School, part of the Seckford Education Trust, are celebrating after achieving a ‘Good’ judgement from Ofsted in all areas. Following an inspection on 17 and 18 September, Ofsted inspectors gave high praise to the School’s inclusive environment, strong teaching, wide-ranging extra-curricular activities, and for successfully providing students with ‘a foundation for life’.
Ofsted inspectors described the School as a ‘very happy community’ where ‘pupils arrive promptly because they enjoy school’, and parents and carers are pleased with their school choice. ‘School leaders want every pupil to do well’, and to leave as ‘confident’ young adults who are ‘well prepared’ for their next step in education, employment or training.
SET Ixworth School, last inspected in 2017, has made ‘huge improvements’ with ‘strong’ teaching that inspires pupils to think and ‘learn rapidly’, and students achieving well at GCSE in a wide range of subjects. Inspectors also highlighted the school’s range of extra-curricular activities, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, learning British Sign Language, or preparing for a school drama production, where pupils are encouraged to discover new interests beyond academic subjects.
As a small school environment, ‘pupils and teachers all know each other very well’; ‘bullying is rare’ and ‘pupils feel safe’ with everyone working together to support and care for each other.
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at SET Ixworth School, said: “We are very proud that the Ofsted team found our School to be Good in all areas. This is vindication of the incredible hard work and professionalism of all the staff, the hard work and behaviour of our students and the support of our parents and carers. We have high aspirations for our students and we’re committed to providing a safe, challenging and nurturing environment where each and every student can learn and thrive.”
As part of their inspection, Ofsted inspectors spoke with the Headteacher and senior leadership team as well as teachers, parents, carers and students. Ofsted inspected four key areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management – all of which were rated Good at SET Ixworth School.
SET Ixworth School, on Walsham Road in Ixworth, opened in 2014 as part of the Seckford Education Trust, which also includes Beccles and Saxmundham Schools.
For more information about SET Ixworth School, visit www.ixworthschool.org.uk.Read More
A Tudor historian has completed a historic walk, following in the footsteps of an important local Elizabethan lawyer, Thomas Seckford.
Dr Eva Griffith is a Shakespearean theatre historian who undertook a sponsored walk on Friday 20 September, from Ipswich Museum on the High Street in Ipswich to the Seckford Almshouses in Woodbridge.
She has made this walk as the culmination of a research and walking tour across Europe, visiting towns and cities where English actors of Shakespeare’s time are recorded performing. She has visited Paris, Lille, Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Utrecht, Frankfurt and more.
She has also been undertaking extensive research of the Seckford Collection, housed in Suffolk Records Office.
Thomas Seckford served in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, and he was also a Member of Parliament for Ipswich. His charitable works benefited the townspeople of Woodbridge, his ancestral home.
The home leg of Dr Griffith’s walk took her from the site of Thomas Seckford’s former Ipswich home, all the way to Woodbridge, arriving at the Seckford Almshouses – the charity that Thomas Seckford set up. The residents welcomed her arrival with a tea party and festivities.
Eva has been walking in aid of Classic FM’s ‘Make Some Noise’ charity as part of their Big Walk. Donations are invited here: https://makesomenoise.charitycheckout.co.uk/pf/eva-griffith-eurowalk
Melanie Chew, Development Director at the Seckford Foundation said “We have been delighted to work with and welcome Dr Griffith to Woodbridge. We have been thrilled to learn from her about the early days of Thomas Seckford’s land in Tudor times. Eva’s walk has been amazing, and we are proud to welcome her home to Thomas Seckford’s greatest work – his Almshouses!”Read More
Woodbridge Combined Care Homes Choir along with Saxmundham Free School, St Mary’s Primary & Barnabas Pre-School held a wonderful Concert at the Methodist Church in Woodbridge on Wednesday 26th June, which was thoroughly enjoyed by an audience of all ages.
Featuring residents, relatives, friends and staff of Seckford Almshouses, Jubilee House, Woodbridge Lodge and Grove Court Care Homes, the choir joined forces with students from Saxmundham Free School, St Mary’s Primary & Barnabas Pre-School in this lovely concert that was open to all the community. All of the choirs worked well together and complemented each other perfectly. The singers’ ages ranged from 2 to 99.
The audience was treated to a selection of favourites with songs such as Cheek to Cheek, L-O-V-E, The Sound of Silence, Make you feel my love, Que sera, sera, Country Road, Who wants to be a Millionaire, with a finale of Sing. And of course the audience joined in too!
The Combined Care Homes Choir is funded by Comic Relief and was launched in February 2018. The choir offers care home residents, their families and staff the chance to participate in and enjoy a shared interest and the opportunity to sing, to perform, as well as to meet people from other care settings, who may be experiencing situations similar to their own.
Sarah Kopferschmitt, Head of Care at Seckford Care said: “We are proud to work in collaboration with Grove Court and Woodbridge Lodge, for the Care Homes Choir. The Choir has given residents of care homes around Woodbridge the opportunity to indulge their interest in singing in an open and friendly setting with other likeminded people. To have the opportunity to sing alongside other choirs and perform in public has been very enjoyable for all involved.”Read More
Residents of Seckford Care and members of the public were treated to a delightful summer’s evening concert by Illuminati, a talented local choir, on Saturday 8th June.
The evening concert was held in the Victorian Seckford Chapel, which sits at the centre of the historic Almshouse building. The repertoire was varied including works by Tallis, Gibbons, Jenkins some madrigals, and even included an amusing Highway Code set as a Gregorian Chant! Each piece was introduced by a choir member which added to the listeners enjoyment. We learnt that one of the pieces was composed in 1547 by a fellow courtier of Thomas Seckford!
The concert was in two parts and well attended. Guests enjoyed some light refreshments, served in the cloisters. The event was help as a fundraiser for the refurbishment of the Chapel and almost £150 was raised towards our cause.Read More
Monday 20 – Sunday 26 May is Dementia Action Week – a week that unites individuals, workplaces and the wider community to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia. During this week there will be a range of events and activities in Woodbridge to raise awareness of and provide information on dementia and the support available organised by Woodbridge Dementia project.
Woodbridge Dementia Project was launched in 2018 by the Seckford foundation working in partnership with organisations in and around Woodbridge with the aim of making Woodbridge a dementia friendly town.
The Project will run a series of free one hour Dementia Friends sessions for local businesses and community groups on Wednesday 22 May at the Fabric shop in Gobbits Yard. For more information contact COBrien@seckford-foundation.org.uk or simply turn up between 10.00am – 4.00pm. There will also be information stands around Woodbridge throughout the week, providing information on their work and how to be involved.
One Woodbridge business supporting the initiative in Dementia Action Week is The Cherry Tree pub which is hosting a fundraising night on Tuesday 21 May, offering fish and chip suppers (vegetarian option available) for £10 per meal with all proceeds donated to the Woodbridge Dementia Project.
The week of activity will be brought to a close by Music for Dementia at the Longshed on Friday 24 May from 2.00 – 5.00pm. The afternoon will include performances by POP choir and Farlingaye High School’s String Quartet. Refreshments including afternoon tea will be available, as well rides on the Woodbridge Memory Bike. There will be the opportunity to find out more about Woodbridge Dementia Project and information on services and support.
Dementia Champion and Deputy Head of Care at Seckford Care Cathy O’Brien said: “Every three minutes, someone in the UK develops dementia. This means almost all of us knows someone affected by dementia – a family member, customer or member of staff – and it doesn’t just affect older people. But too many people living with dementia report feeling cut off from their community, losing their friendships and facing the disease alone.
Dementia Action Week is a fantastic opportunity for the Woodbridge Dementia Project to widen its reach within the community and celebrate the achievements of our work so far. Through these events we hope to engage even more people in Woodbridge with our work.”