Castle sixth-formers' outstanding community work recognised
SIXTH formers from Castle School who spent eight months working in the community have been recognised for their “outstanding contribution” at an awards ceremony.
The students from the Thornbury school had placements with 17 local organisations, and their roles included charity shop work, befriending, fundraising, and being reading buddies. Some chose to mentor younger pupils at the school.
The programme, known as ‘Castle in the Community’, has been running for seven years, working in partnership with Thornbury Volunteer Centre.
Castle head of sixth form Sarah Ockenden, who presented certificates at the ceremony, said school leaders were “immensely proud”, and that the pupils had “made a difference to the lives of others”.
The event was sponsored by Thornbury Lions Club.
Lions youth officer Kevin Simpson said: "I am always amazed at these young people helping to make such a difference in their community, particularly at such a crucial time in their lives studying for exams.
“Volunteering is a great way for them to gain the necessary life skills, which consequently increases confidence in themselves. These young people emulate a Lion’s motto, ‘where there is a need there is a lion’”.
Testimonials written by host organisations were full of praise for the scheme and the volunteers who took part.
Lisa Russell, Duty Manager at Alexandra Way Care Home said: “They are a credit to Castle School, and we would welcome them back at any time.”
One of the student volunteers at Alexandra Way who helped out during the lunch time, serving residents their food and talking to them, said it had been “really nice to make friends and get to know each of the residents”.
Isabel Enyon, a photography teacher at Castle School, acknowledged the contribution of the pupil mentors as “invaluable”.
Thornbury Volunteer Centre development co-ordinator Kim Webb said the placements were mutually beneficial.
She said: “The students gain valuable work experience and life skills and the organisations increase capacity and gain additional volunteer help.”
Any organisations which would like to be involved in next year’s volunteering scheme should contact Kim Webb at Thornbury Volunteer Centre on 01454 413392 or email email@example.com.