Sanctum at The Gilberd School is based in the most wonderful small hall which is right in the middle of school life. Setting up, with help from Richard & Katy Smith of the Colchester Boiler Room Community, took just three hours which meant we really were ready for our first visitors at 10:05. This was a Year 8 class who were with us for just half and hour before another Year 8 class came in.
At break time we were inundated with about 80 students in the 20 minutes, which caught us off guard a bit as we hadn't expected such a big response from day 1. The situation was complicated by the room having an outside door which students are used to using as a short cut. This meant that quite a few came in as a means of getting to the dining hall but got caught up in Sanctum on the way. Amazingly, in spite of the numbers, lots of students got really involved in the activities with others just taking in the atmosphere of the room.
We quickly changed the use of the outside door to "exit only" in time for lunch when about 55 students came through. This time there was a much greater peace about the room, even though it was quite full. Most people spent real time on each activity and, as on previous occasions, we were humbled by so many of their contributions.
A delegation of staff popped in briefly (including the Head Teacher) and were wowed by the room and so encouraging about us being there.
But the best word about the day belongs to the young people. Here is just some of what they have said about their experiences today:
- Sanctum was amazing! It made me feel like I was the only person in the room. It also made me let all my hurt, worry and fear go away. Thank you so much!!!
- I loved it and you don't have to be religious. Thank you. It helped me look inside myself.
- A real eye opener. Really helped me feel that there is another person caring for us.