It’s not often that you get permission to dress up for school or work, but when it’s to fundraise for Chai’s ‘Mad Hair Day’ – it’s actively encouraged! On Friday 25th November and Friday 29th November, children from several schools and nurseries across the UK that we support, adorned their hair with weird and wonderful styles, wigs and bows, paying £1 each to raise awareness and vital funds for Chai’s ‘Chai in Schools’ Programme.

Sinai Jewish primary School, Sacks Morasha Jewish primary School, JFS, Shofar Nursery, Nancy Reuben Primary School, NWJDS in London and King David Primary School, King David Nursery, North Cheshire Jewish Primary School, Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School in Manchester and Brodetsky Primary School in Leeds, all took part in the annual event.

Over the last 5 years Chai has seen a dramatic rise in the number of young parents diagnosed with cancer turning to them for support. With this in mind, the ‘Chai in Schools’ Programme was originally designed to give teaching staff the strategies to support children going through a cancer diagnosis in their family. With the specialist knowledge Chai has within its Children and Teenage Service, they understand the complex issues that children are experiencing and work closely with primary and secondary school teachers across the UK. Chai also offers teachers access to a counsellor as it’s a difficult time for them emotionally too.

Acting as a central point of contact, Chai liaises between the school and the family to co-ordinate all the needs of the child, tailoring support to the type of request received. It may come from the school or from the family and could be at any point in the family’s cancer experience.

Over the past couple of years Chai has expanded this programme and now sends specialist play/art therapists and counsellors into the school premises to work directly with the children affected.

Sinai Headteacher, Juliette Lipshaw said: “At Sinai Jewish Primary School we nurture a generosity of spirit and instil the children with a mind-set that they can make a difference. Supporting events such as Chai’s Mad Hair Day is a creative and hands on way for the children to support such a worthwhile cause. The children (and their parents) really embrace the fun of the day and always raise an impressive amount of money for Chai’s Schools Programme. Chai continue to support Sinai families and we value the support and partnership we have fostered.”