Written by Karen Thomson
Founder and Coordinator of the award
Love compassion co-operation respect equality commitment leadership participation courage
A very unusual, but hugely inspirational year for the Torbay & Devon Civic Award
The Torbay and Devon Civic Award’s 16thyear started with huge enthusiasm! Last September and October I visited 8 new schools and introduced the award to nearly 300 children who were so very keen and excited to be pioneers for their schools. I was blown away by the passion and maturity of our new cohorts.
Abbotskerswell Primary School; Berry Pomeroy CE Primary School; Blackpool CE Primary School; Lympstone CE Primary School; Newton Ferrers CE Primary School; Oldway Primary School; Roselands Primary Schooland Uffwell CE Primary School joined us, bringing the total number of schools taking part to 32! Another record!
Close to 1000 Year 6 pupils began work and we were receiving reports of amazing events and incredible acts of charity when everything changed! Covid-19 curtailed plans, partly closed schools and changed life for everyone. We feared that the Torbay and Devon Civic Award would be another casualty – but oh no! The children kept working! Whilst in Lockdown they supported community projects, took up new hobbies, learned new skills and kept the spirit of the award well and truly alive.
I began receiving emails from parents and teachers telling me how children had not given up, but actually shown even greater dedication. Stories emerged of selfless Civic Award acts of kindness, public participation and creative adaptations of the requirements of the award. However, cancelled residentials and huge societal changes meant that many children were unable to demonstrate their commitment to all the aspects of the awarddue to no fault of their own. Many Year 6 children were never to return to their primary schools.
Due to these exceptional circumstances, Gary Vine, who manages the award’s online presence, and I decided to introduce a Special Edition certificate for this year only, which would go to any Y6 pupil who was felt to have embraced the spirit of the award, even if it was incomplete.
Schools were delighted! Photos and details were scanned, emailed, uploaded to learning platforms and various drives. Interviews were held via FaceTime, Zoom, over mobile phone. The staff running the award in their schools, already tired and facing enormous unprecedented challenges, rose to the occasion, finding a way to reward their children.
In June 2020,I sent out just over 300 certificates, less than the previous year, but a pretty amazing number for the year it was;and Gary started the enormous job of updating the website with the vast amounts of photos, names and reports submitted. Viewings for the website started to go through the roof with the total number of page views currently standingat 15,981! Because of Covid 19, there were no Presentation Nights this year, but schools did their best to award certificates safely in socially distanced outdoor events, within children’s personal ‘bubbles` and via electronic ceremonies. Words of congratulations fromCouncillor John Mathews, Chair Elect for Devon County Council and both Gary and myself were communicated electronically.
This year the values of the award have never been more important! The main aim of the Torbay and Devon Civic Award is that, through taking part, children will develop their character. Graduates of the Torbay and Devon Civic Award 2019-20 certainly did that! They really did demonstrate its values in their participation in this very strange year. They should be so very proud of themselves – we are certainly very proud of them!
Some words of congratulations
From Karen Thomson – Founder and Coordinator
Despite the coronavirus pandemic happening right in the middle of your Year 6, you didn’t give up! You showed….
Love – cooperation – respect – commitment – leadership – participation – courage – compassion
I’m very sorry not to be able to say well done in person, but I know you will take the spirit of the Torbay and Devon Civic Award with you right through your life. You should feel so very proud and confident.
Here is some advice for you as you prepare to leave your primary school behind and move to secondary school. It is linked to the Torbay and Devon Civic Award:
- Look after younger and more vulnerable people just as you have done in your school
- As you move through life remember your locality and roots –play a part in your communities
- You are a guardian of our planet – look after it and all its life forms
- You have shown that you are an interesting person – stick at your hobbies and interests and try new ones!
- Be brave – travel and see the world
- Stand up for what you believe in – make the world a better place for having you in it!
From Councillor John Mathews – Chair Elect for Devon County Council
Through doing things for others we become stronger and happier and all of this has made you the people you are. I am quite certain that you will continue to be the sort of people who strive to make things better for communities and that you will achieve all your goals and dreams in your futures. Well done!
From Gary Vine –Torbay & Devon Civic Award Online Publicist & Admin
I would like to personally congratulate you for embracing the values and spirit of the Torbay & Devon Civic Award 2019/2020. It’s been a privilege to see that you have pursued your Civic Award activities during these challenging times and it is a honour for you to receive this certificate of achievement for all your effort and participation in the 16th Torbay & Devon Civic Award. A massive well done!