Academy trust backs fundraising snail trail for hospice

Students from Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) and Elm Grove Primary School (white T shirts), Sir Rod Aldridge and Imelda Glackin (Photograph: Liz Finlayson/Vervate)
Students from Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) and Elm Grove Primary School (white T shirts), Sir Rod Aldridge and Imelda Glackin (Photograph: Liz Finlayson/Vervate)

The founder of an academy trust which runs two secondary schools in the city will sponsor part of an arts trail for Martlets Hospice in memory of his mother.

Sir Rod Aldridge of Aldridge Foundation said his mother Doris raised cash for the Hove hospice throughout her life, before she died last year aged 101.

The Aldridge Foundation is set to sponsor Snailspace’s ‘learners programme’, which will see 50 small snails decorated by young people join 45 giant sculptures on the streets this September, in a follow-up to Snowdogs by the Sea.

Students from Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA), alongside Sir Rod Aldridge, had an unusual visitor to the school to celebrate the news; the giant snail ‘Geronimo’.

Sir Rod said: “My primary reason for getting involved in Snailspace is to honour the memory of my mother, Doris Aldridge. She passed away at the age of 101 last August and had raised money for Martlets throughout her life. Backing this life-affirming event, that brings the community together, young and old alike, is the perfect way to continue her legacy.

“Our charity, the Aldridge Foundation, and the Snailspace Learners Programme share some important objectives, encouraging young people to be active citizens in the local community. Aldridge schools put creativity at the heart of study; it is fundamental to our approach to learning. Sponsoring the Snailspace campaign is a great way to support creativity in the city, as well as encouraging young people to explore important themes such as nature, the environment and mental health.”

The Snailspace Learners Programme has almost 50 schools and youth groups signed up, which is double the number that took part in the previous Snowdogs event. All ages are represented from toddlers to sixth formers; almost 15,000 children across the city will be involved.

Speaking about the partnership with the Aldridge Foundation, Imelda Glackin, CEO of Martlets Hospice, said: “Doris Aldridge was such a staunch supporter of Martlets. She supported the patients and families we work with for many years, and even invited us to join her for her centenary celebrations in 2016. This is a wonderfully fitting tribute to her memory. It is fantastic to have the Aldridge Foundation as sponsors of the Learners Programme as they have such an important educational presence in the city and our campaign’s objectives fit so well with their approach to learning.

“We are also thrilled that so many schools have signed up to be part of the event. It is amazing that despite the many pressures facing schools that they have been so keen to embrace this event and raise money to enable us to care for local people when they need it. We’d like to say a huge thank you too to all of the teachers who work so hard to give their pupils access to these unique experiences.”

Charlie Langhorne, director of Wild in Art, which will deliver Snailspace with Martlets, said: “We’re passionate about bringing people together through our events and giving them a voice through art, and Sir Rod’s vision for the Aldridge Foundation to create inspiring and enterprising education strikes a chord with us and the Snailspace Learners Programme. It’s fantastic that with the Foundation’s support the programme’s impact on Brighton and Hove’s children and young people, and the city itself, will be even greater.”