Former School Captain Wins Brun Bear Foundation Award

Just a few months after leaving Colfe’s, former school captain Alex Gray (OC23) has won the Brun Bear Foundation’s 2023 Simon Shades Award for his proposal to design a new app to streamline the communication and engagement between the charitable foundation, its supporters and its beneficiaries. The £1,000 award will enable the development of the app and will help to support Alex, now in his first year of a Computer Science degree at Bristol University.

Alex’s award-winning idea was sparked by a realisation that the Foundation had been using an inconsistent and time-intensive mix of WhatsApp and mailing lists to communicate with stakeholders. His aims were to develop an app to facilitate event listings and bookings, donations and a shop, plus chat functions to enhance engagement and communication between the charity, its supporters, partners and beneficiaries.

He began volunteering with the Foundation while at school, combining his A-level studies and school captain duties with voluntary project work. Colfe’s and the Brun Bear Foundation came together with a Community Day partnership in the summer of 2023, a day which saw over 60 Colfe’s sixth formers volunteering 300 hours of their time in various community projects.

The Brun Bear Foundation founder Edwin Lampert said: “Alex’s project encapsulates what The Simon Shades Award is all about. The Award will simultaneously support a talented student who hails from the locality in his personal and professional development and will also support The Brun Bear Foundation in delivering even more strongly on its charitable objectives. Alex is a truly deserving winner. His project stood out in a field of strong and varied applications.”

Alex said: “My feeling is that the charity can enhance its communications by centralising communications through an app. I’m looking forward to applying my existing knowledge as well as what I stand to learn at university to build something meaningful and tangible that builds connection and enhances the experience of all who come into contact with The Foundation.”

The Brun Bear Foundation was established in 2014 by Edwin Lampert to support medical research, animal welfare and community projects. The Simon Shades Scholarship is an annual, merit based award, open to graduates of Bromley and Lewisham schools or colleges as well as those home-schooled within the borough, with a background of, or potential for, civic involvement or community service.


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