When Ro Kaye founded Community Links all those years ago, she could never have foreseen the predicament our world finds itself in today.  Lockdowns, local lockdowns, social bubbles and the two metre distance rule – they have all played their part in hampering the work of CLC’s voluntary service programme 20/21.

However, in true CLC style, we are rallying. 

The opportunity to contribute and engage has always been a source of great pride for Community Links, and with a record number of girls volunteering to take part this year, we have decided to harness a variation on a theme.  Still very much at the heart of College’s commitment to serving and benefitting others, we are looking not just to our local community, but further afield.

In a time of Covid, it has been argued that the pandemic has not necessarily changed our world.  Instead, it has accelerated us to a place where we were already heading.  If you remember, back in March, when we first experienced the restrictions of lockdown, and embarked on Remote Community Links, we were hugely encouraged by the success of sending homemade facemasks to The Ronald Ross Hospital in Zambia.  Now, at the beginning of the autumn term, with girls located not just in Cheltenham, but elsewhere in the world, we have quickly realised that with clever technologies our local community just “got global”.  Heading into uncharted waters we can hardly avoid crossing the Rubicon!

Our fate – diversification - our only life-line to the future.

In a bid to keep the Walt Disney organisation fresh and relevant, CEO, Bob Iger in 2005 considered global expansion, new technologies and creative thinking.  Obviously Community Links is not on the same footing as the Walt Disney corporation.  However, Bob Iger’s thinking did carry some resonance when contemplating the future of Community Links, especially in a world brought closer together with new and exciting technological breakthroughs.  With its international student base, CLC boasts a wealth of blue-sky thinkers with access to state of the art technologies.  Allowing girls to think creatively, they not only benefit locally, but they conquer globally.  Our world just got smaller. 

Whilst still a work in progress, our new approach is undeniably a springboard for positive change.  Dovetailing nicely with our charitable giving, we continue to exhibit sustainable voluntary service, community spirit and a practicability which is not only fit for purpose but is of benefit to others.

‘The riskiest thing we can do is just maintain the status quo – we know that won’t work in today’s rapidly evolving world.’ (Iger, 2019)

With projects ranging from raising awareness about mental health (locally and internationally), to making Christmas stockings for the homeless, it will be the girls’ voices and their actions which will make a difference.

Community Links is changing, its unavoidable.  The girls are at the heart of this revolution.  We are looking to them to lead the way, to build on Ro Kaye’s legacy and to strive for a better future with a “solution” that will reflect the world we live in.

If you would like further information regarding this year’s Community Links programme, please feel free to contact Mrs Ali Proudlock

Ali Proudlock
Community Links and Charities 

Remote Community Links

What to do when there is no rule book?!

Founded by the irrepressible Mrs Kaye, College’s Community Links Programme has been providing CLC students with the opportunity to volunteer locally for over twenty years. However, when all things pandemic hit earlier this year, and lockdown proved the only inevitable course of action, Community Links seemed more vital than ever – but how to deliver?  

Not to be defeated, it would be the girls who would lead the way. Scattered throughout forty seven countries during lockdown, our world had suddenly became “local”. Remote Community Links (RCL) had found its platform.

However, with new restrictions in place, success would require a pragmatic and measured approach to volunteering “from a distance”. Tracking the deadly progress of corona virus and a rapidly changing political, economic and social landscape, RCL focused on where the greatest need might be next, and with links to the Ronald Ross Hospital in Zambia’s Copperbelt, we approached Dr Matabile (Chief Medical Superintendent) to see if we could help. 


Three hundred face masks later, Remote Community Links was meeting a need.

In the true spirit of cooperation, SFC2 students took it upon themselves to source, direct and produce cotton face masks for the Ronald Ross community. In doing so, they gained a much clearer insight into their responsibility of what it is to be a crucial member of society. We could not be more proud of them.  In recognition of their indefatigable pioneering spirit, superb craftsmanship and constant good humour, our thanks goes to Katie, Seren, Eleanor, Sophie, Elsa, Emily, Connie and Daisy, without whom,  we would not be asking the question – what next?

UPDATE - September 2020

Having arrived safely at their required destination, Dr James Matabile, Chief Superintendent Medical Officer from the Ronald Ross Hospital extended a huge thanks to the students of Cheltenham Ladies’ College for their kind donation of face masks made by our resourceful group of sixth form girls as part of our Remote Community Links programme at the end of the summer term ’20.

After a very lengthy journey of eight weeks, the masks have now been distributed amongst members of staff at the hospital and their families.  Hugely appreciative of the girls efforts, Dr Matibile thanked the girls for their efforts, and is now looking forward to continued links with CLC.

Ali Proudlock
Community Links and Charities