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GSAL Stay Connected reaches out to alumni

Wednesday 6 May 2020

Keeping in touch has never been more important than it is now, with restrictions on social interactions in place due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As the lockdown was announced in March, The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) launched GSAL Stay Connected and contacted more than 1,500 alumni aged over 70 to offer a helping hand. A team of volunteers, made up of staff, alumni or GSAL parents, is offering support such as regular chats on the phone, or practical help with shopping and collecting prescriptions.

To support the scheme, 200 students in Y11 wrote letters to ‘old boys’ and ‘old girls’ and the response was overwhelming. Many alumni responded just to say how lovely it was to hear from us, while others took up our offer of help.

Through the power of social media we also heard from alumni across the country, asking us to support family members local to school.

Former Leeds Girls’ High School (LGHS) head of music Margaret Smith, who still lives locally, has now become firm friends (at a social distance of course) with Sandra Law, GSAL teacher and parent. Margaret’s daughter Alison Connolly, an LGHS alumna now living in Essex, contacted school on her mother’s behalf after seeing our Facebook post.

Sandra shops for Margaret and her husband, and they soon found they had lots in common. Margaret said: “Sandra has been absolutely brilliant; nothing is too much trouble. I couldn’t have asked for more, but if you were trying to pair people of like minds you couldn’t have done better!

“Shopping lists apart, our conversations have ranged far and wide, on the telephone as well as outside the garden gate, and it has become a rewarding and enriching experience. I have no doubt that when this ghastly business is over we will stay in contact and are both looking forward to being able to meet up in more realistic surroundings. Thank you.”

To find out more, request assistance or volunteer for GSAL Stay Connected, email alumni@gsal.org.uk or call 0113 228 5115.

Pictured are Y11 girls writing letters to alumni at the start of GSAL Stay Connected.

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