The Diocese of York is twinned with three Dioceses in South Africa – the Dioceses of Cape Town, False Bay and Saldhana Bay. As a Church school Archbishop Holgate’s has fostered a great link with the Diocese of Cape Town.  This started with a visit by two staff in 2004 and has continued with seven subsequent visits by staff and students, the most recent in April 2018.

Project work this time included creating a new play area at an AIDS orphanage, teaching in a school, planting a vegetable garden and doing other work that that the school has partnered with over many years. This year the students took thirteen extra suitcases full of donated items in addition to the large amount of things in their own luggage. This included over 800 World Book Day books, almost 100 pairs of football boots, two suitcases full of football team strips, knitted items donated by local church members, teddy bears and other cuddly toys and a huge amount of second-hand clothes for babies and children. These were donated to a variety of groups from township football teams to an AIDS orphanage, local schools, a maternity hospital, a foster home and support groups for HIV sufferers. It is estimated that the group took well over 300KG of donated items in the additional cases and in their own luggage. The task of transporting these items across London was challenging.

The visits to Cape Town involve extensive community service and educational elements; as well as getting to know the people, culture and history of Cape Town.  The latter is achieved through visits to churches, youth groups and through home stay. Our visits always have a threefold dimension to them. There is the educational element; visiting Robben Island and Table Mountain, as well as other places. There is the extensive community service element and finally there is element of engagement with local people through home stay with a local church and a school, attending youth events and working alongside the local people.

As a fruit of their on-going relationship with the Diocese of Cape Town the school has twice played host Capetonian students who came to study in the Sixth Form as part of a month long exchange. Archbishop Holgate’s students made reciprocal month long visits to the prestigious St Cyprian’s School in Cape Town. The school has also welcomed a group of Capetonian footballers and youth workers from the Diocese too.  Sadly the visit of 2020 was cancelled due to the worldwide COVID pandemic. The school has maintained its links with its many partners in and around Cape Town, and is exploring how to resurrect another visit to the Diocese of Cape Town in the future.

So successful is the schools link that our Chaplain is a member of the steering committee of the York Diocesan link group with Cape Town.