Announcing our Charity of the Year 2023

St Mary’s Church has a programme of fundraising to support local, national, and international charities. We raise in excess of £10,000 each year for our chosen charity.

We are delighted to announce that our St Mary’s Charity of the Year for 2023 will be Level Trust, Luton.

Many families living in poverty can’t afford to buy school uniform, including shoes, PE kit and a winter coat, for their children, and struggle to replace items as their children grow.  This can be devastating for the children’s educational development, their self esteem and mental health.  If they get cold and wet on their walk to school, if their shoes are too tight and hurt their feet, if they can’t play sports because they don’t have PE kit, and if they think their classmates might make fun of their tight clothes, they are likely to miss school and/or fail to engage in their learning.

45% of children in Luton live in poverty – that’s over 26,600 children whose educational prospects are under threat.

Level Trust helps children in Luton aged 3-16 by providing gift cards for school shoes and coats, running a Uniform Exchange ‘swap shop’ in The Mall, giving out Learn@Home resource packs full of the things children need for homework, and running a summer school packed with exciting and enriching experiences.  This makes children feel more included, more confident, and enables them to attend school more – which all adds up to a brighter future. 

Uniform Exchange is a free second-hand uniform shop in Luton town centre. Families use the Exchange by swapping school uniform they have finished with for school uniform they need, all for free. Children with no uniform to swap can be referred by a school to receive uniform without exchange.  Over the last full reporting year Level Trust provided 6286 items of school uniform to 2451 children.

The Learning Locker is a new shop in The Mall Luton that provides free school shoes, learning resources, winter coats and hygiene products. Children who need support from the Learning Locker can be referred to Level Trust by schools or through the Uniform Exchange.

SMASH is the summer holiday enrichment programme. The scheme provides a week of free educational activities, healthy hot meals and transport to venues for children aged 8 -12.  In the past year 386 children took part in sports, outdoor adventures, crafts, performing arts, trips to the Safari Park and more.

Level Trust also runs the Bedfordshire Learning Link, which is a fully-funded project to provide computers to young people who couldn’t afford one to access online learning.

Excluding the Bedfordshire Learning Link, the annual turnover of Level Trust is about £200k, all funded through competitive grants and donations from trusts, organisations and individuals. 

For more information about Level Trust see their website:

We are planning an attractive programme of fundraising activities throughout the year, with the aim of raising at least £10,000 for Level Trust during 2023.

We need your help to reach this ambitious fundraising target. Please have a think about how you might be able to get involved. Could you:

  • Take on a sponsored challenge – marathon, silence, jail break, 10k, swim, cycle, or some of your own ideas?
  • Plan your own fundraising event? How about a plant sale? Safari Supper?
  • Offer practical help – collecting uniform and equipment in Redbourn or delivering it to Luton? Volunteering at the Uniform Exchange in Luton?
  • Bring things to sell at the ongoing ‘Charity Stall’ table in church? Crafts, unwanted gifts, preserves, etc.
  • Make a donation via our online giving page?

Please get in touch for further information or to volunteer to help in some way.

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