School scoops £1K in Hope comp

THE winners of Liverpool Hope University’s Hope Springs Eternal school video competition have been announced – with one institution scooping £1,000 to spend on valuable resources.

The prize was launched in January this year, alongside partners the Joyce Lund Charitable Estate and Merseyside-based Morecrofts Solicitors.

The idea was for school groups or classes to submit a short video clip, no more than 60 seconds long, demonstrating the theme ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ in whatever creative way they wished.

A prestigious panel of judges included acclaimed screenwriter and novelist Frank Cottrell Boyce – famed for movies like The Railway Man and Millions – as well as comedienne, actress, singer and presenter Pauline Daniels and up-and-coming actor Jamil Abbasi, who recently starred in the musical Rent at the Liverpool Empire Theatre.

The judges also decided on six runner-up prizes of £500 each, again to be spent on school resources.

Having poured over entries, the judges awarded the top £1,000 prize to Chesnut Lodge Specialist School, located in Widnes, Cheshire.

The touching minute-long clip – which you can watch on Hope’s YouTube channel – sees children voicing their dreams for post-lockdown life, including riding a ‘dizzying’ roller coaster, enjoying ‘the boom of a speaker at a live show’, returning to gymnastics club, or even the simple feeling of a ‘warm cuddle’.

The video was particularly touching for judge Frank, whose parents sadly passed away within a week of each other at the end of June. Referring to the ‘quiet hope’ of the children’s voices, the 61-year-old said: “They were of course all terrific. At a time when I needed a bit of hope myself, the real hope lay in just how different all of the entries were from each other –  from a rap piece to a diary entry to pieces of lovely choreography.
“How could I pick one “best” bloom out of such a diverse bouquet? I decided to look for the one that filled me with the most hope.”

Fellow judge Jamil was in agreement. He added: “I love the striking and unique artwork involved. The collage work with bright colours really makes it pop. The messages are very clearly delivered and a lot of the activities mentioned give me hope too! I personally cannot wait to go on a dizzy rollercoaster as well. I hope to see this artwork in galleries all across the world someday. Excellent work!”

Chesnut Lodge teacher Laura Scott, herself a Hope alumni, said of the win: “The children were very happy and excited, and really enjoyed making the video.
“In terms of the prize money, we are thinking of buying some art supplies, maybe some resources for our cooking room as well, and some new books for our library.”

The runners-up prizes were awarded to St Sebastian’s Catholic Primary School and Nursery located in Kensington, Liverpool, Our Lady St Swithin’s Catholic Primary School, Croxteth, Liverpool, Christ the King High School and Sixth Form, Southport, St Andrew the Apostle Catholic Primary School, Halewood, St Anthony Of Padua RC Primary School, Mossley Hill, Liverpool, and Riverside Primary School, Wallasey.

Debbie Ryan, Faculty Programmes Administrator in Hope’s School of Education, said: “We’re so pleased to have had such a fantastic response to this year’s competition. The competition, which reflected the ethos of Liverpool Hope University, was designed to give pupils an opportunity to reconnect through working together on an exciting project and sharing their thoughts on the meaning and importance of hope.”

Managing Partner of Morecrofts Solicitors, Alison Lobb, commented: “Engaging with communities has always been something we put at the forefront of our business practice at Morecrofts, and the Hope Springs Eternal competition is an example of how amazing things can happen when people come together.
“Being involved in such a fantastic initiative has been a pleasure. I don’t envy the judges as I am told the entries stood at such a high standard. Congratulations to the winning schools on their efforts – let’s continue to keep the spirit of hope alive.”