CITYMATTERS.LONDON September 2020 | Page 3 NEWS subscribe to our newsletter at citymatters.london THINKING ON THEIR FEET: DragonFest organisers have had to cancel the physical event, but fundraising activity is taking place online. DragonFest takes flight to web to overcome Covid-19 THE team behind a popular Lord Mayor’s Appeal fundraiser are taking part of their event online after coronavirus scuppered plans. Without the pandemic, Saturday 5 September would have marked the latest edition of DragonFest, a charity dragon boat paddle across the waves of Fairlop Waters. But while hopes of an exciting race weekend were sunk, the accompanying fanfare is still afloat – and heading online. DragonFest Online Shopping Village (dragonfest.org.uk) is to host nearly 200 designer brands, offering a present, gift or treat for every occasion. A free discounted voucher book will allow users to shop, save and give 10% to the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. Discount vouchers are valid for 12 months and new brands will be featured each month. Mastermind behind the annual event, Lady Lenzie, said: “Now, more than ever there is a need to promote corporate responsibility to support the work of the Lord Mayor’s Appeal and its charity partners, particularly at a time when so many people have suffered loss, loneliness and depression due to the pandemic. “The Appeal’s aim is to promote a healthy City, a fair City and a skilled City. “Next year’s DragonFest is set to be the biggest and best yet, with 60 boats competing, each with 16 paddlers and one drummer, fighting to win the coveted Lord Mayor’s Cup. Team places can MASTERMIND: Lady Lenzie. be booked now, and the new date for your diary will soon be posted online.” DragonFest 2021 will take place, as ever, in the picturesque Fairlop Waters Country Park in Barkingside, one of London’s largest country parks. A full day of activities will be on offer for family and friends, as well as those taking up their paddles to do battle. A feast of entertainment, music, designers, artisans and handmade crafts, and the world food zone delivered by Peckish will all feature alongside the fiercely competitive dragon boat racing. Dragon boat racing has become the world’s fastest growing water sport, with boats that are visually spectacular, colourful, and exciting for competitors and spectators. No previous experience is required and safety and technique briefings form an integral part of the event experience. DragonFest raises funds annually for the Lord Mayor’s Appeal. The Appeal continues the work begun in 2018, alongside its charity partners Place2Be, OnSide, Youth Zones, Duke of Edinburgh Award, and Samaritans. The Lord Mayor will attend the event, present awards, and enjoy what promises to be an action packed and diverse extravaganza. Sponsors for 2020 include The Brooke Consultancy, My Rooms, and Luxury Italian Living. This has truly been a year like no other YOU’D have to be on a desert island to miss the fact that in the last two weeks pupils across the capital have received their A-Level and GCSE exam results, writes Catherine McGuinness, City of London Corporation Policy Chair. This has been a year like no other. Not only has every school had to adapt and find new ways of working following closures forced by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the way in which results have been awarded in the absence of exams has changed and changed again, with huge stress for all concerned, and most particularly the pupils. We know though that a lot of hard work and dedication went into preparing for exams and coursework, not only from the pupils themselves, but also from teachers, support staff and parents, and this deserves celebrating. And I’m proud that pupils in the City of London Academies Trust, which runs eight academies sponsored by the City of London Corporation in Hackney, Newham, Islington and Southwark, has some real success stories to tell. At Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre, four pupils were awarded a total of £1 million in scholarships from top American universities. The school, based in East Ham, runs a US university preparation programme which includes a paid tour of the Ivy League universities, mentoring advice and guidance for those looking to study overseas. But as we look across society, we still see that many of the best paid jobs in the corporate world are secured by people from privileged backgrounds who have had an elite education. This situation creates huge hurdles for people from less advantaged backgrounds, who can struggle to find a place or make progress within the workforce. There are many bright and talented young people from across society who are hungry for the opportunity to progress and do well. I strongly believe that as a business community we must do more to ensure they receive the guidance, support and – most importantly – the opportunity to find a career that they are passionate about. The City of London Academies Trust has twice been named by social mobility charity Sutton Trust as the UK’s best academy sponsor for empowering pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to perform above the national average. Many of our academies are located in some of the most underprivileged areas of the capital – and their links with London’s firms have served them well. And as a leading academy sponsor, we are working hard to help develop young Londoners into successful adults who make a positive contribution to their local, national and global communities. That’s why we invited over 850 youngsters from six academies to attend summer catch-up programmes to bridge learning gaps caused by lockdown school closures. And it’s why this September we will give more than 1,500 young Londoners in 10 schools extra support to bridge learning gaps caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. This year’s results just goes to show that through hard work, dedication and the right support and guidance, the next generation can flourish and create lasting value for London and the UK.
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