Milton Abbey celebrated Harvest Festival on Sunday 8th October, one of many Christian communities doing so around the country, however this year our focus was supporting a local Dorset based charity, the Bus Shelter.
Last year pupils successfully collected and donated food, clothes, camping equipment and toiletries for those living in refugee camps in Europe. This year pupils decided to focus on supporting vulnerable people closer to home.
The Bus Shelter Dorset is a charity that has raised money to buy and renovate a double-decker bus so that it can provide rough sleepers in Dorset with somewhere safe to stay. The aim is to break the cycle of homelessness and give rough sleepers the chance to regain their dignity and place in society by providing a much needed safe, secure and warm place to stay, where they can access the support they require to move on.
Donations from pupils and staff were piled up at the front of the Abbey and included clothes, food and toiletries. Liz Reeve, a trustee for The Bus Shelter Dorset, attended the service and talked to the Milton Abbey community about the progress of the Weymouth bus so far. Liz also spoke about life and homelessness, asking pupils to imagine lining up dominoes for every important factor of their lives, such as family members, favourite possessions, health, self confidence and feelings of self worth. She then explained that one life event, such as a marriage breakdown or the loss of a job can push over the first domino, and that can be all it takes for the whole line to start to implode.
In the midst of an otherwise busy weekend of hockey and rugby matches, CCF training exercises, a visit to Messums Wiltshire to see their latest exhibition and trips to the cinema and to Weymouth, the Harvest Festival service was an opportunity for Milton Abbey pupils to reflect quietly on the fragility of life and the importance of supporting people at vulnerable moments in their lives.