Family Service not Lip Service

September 2021 marked the start of a new term, a new year but also a return to the old ways. Ordinarily, one would be weary of such an admission – a return to the old ways – but for us, at Hazlegrove, it meant that with the COVID restrictions eased, we were able to return to our much-loved and much-valued Family Service at supper time.

Allow me to describe the scene:

There is table in our dining room, surrounded by many tables, a table laid with delicious food (including a scrummy pudding), and a sea of happy faces – children ranging from our little ones, aged 7 years old to our seniors, aged 13 years old, boys and girls, siblings and friends, and two adults, sitting together, sharing a meal. The older children serve the food for the younger ones – names and smiles are exchanged, as this familiar and comforting ritual plays out.

The name Family Service is more than just the way that we conduct boarders’ supper at Hazlegrove. These two words encapsulate the very essence of our boarding.

Family: we are a family-run community whose values are family-orientated – a sense of looking after each other, making everyone feel welcome; and crucially, making sure that each member of our boarding family, feels valued and cared for. This is done through spending quality time together, like our mealtimes, and forging meaningful relationships.

And Service: we have a dedicated and passionate group of adults who believe in serving others and leading by example; and we encourage and model this behaviour to the children, so that they look out for each other, help each other and offer a helping hand where necessary.

This year started with us revisiting the values which mean most to us – and to our parents, such as kindness, respect, tolerance, and patience and these were all in abundance on the very first night, when we all gathered together to enjoy a Family Service.

Regan Schreiber



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