Eastbrook School in Dagenham on the Rising Futures Programme had their Play Your Part day on Thursday 31st October, a crisp and clear Autumn day. We met in the school library and talked about our day of action and giving something back to the community. The students were asked to think of a goal in one of the talent areas of confidence, communication, self-awareness, and resilience that they would like to develop and work towards over the day.
Our Yes Futures cohort of 19 Year 10 students walked from their school to Eastbrookend Country Park. On arrival, we met with one of the park rangers – Jerome, who would be our instructor and guide for the day. Jerome showed the students a lot of tools they would be working with such as loppers, hedging shears, rake, pruning saw and others. The day's tasks were coppicing (cutting down) some older trees and clearing some shrubs and old growth to create new spaces for activities and to allow new growth to prosper.
Eastbrook students divided into two groups, with one group starting with the coppicing and the other group clearing the shrubs and hedges. The cleared older growth was gathered in piles to create new pathways, and the coppiced trees were bundled to be taken away for weaving projects. The students worked hard all morning, stopping only for a small fruit and snack break. The students and coaches felt rejuvenated after our break, and the groups changed the task they were working on so that each group had an opportunity to work on both assigned tasks.
Jerome, from Eastbrookend Country Park, was very impressed by how quickly and efficiently our students worked. The space we cleared was a lot more than he had anticipated! Some of our students were asked to assist with bundling up some of the coppiced trees. When we had finished, we tidied up the area, and it was great to see the difference we had made in clearing the area. The students also helped take the tools and bundled trees back to the lodge.
After our morning of hard work, everyone was ready for a well-deserved lunch break. When everyone had finished resting and eating, we talked about our Play Your Part day. We discussed our goals and how they related to our Talent Toolbox. We talked about how we felt at the start of the day and the goals we had set. Many students expressed feeling uncertain at the beginning wondering whether they would enjoy the day or be able to rise to the challenge, and all of them were surprised and pleased at their success.
Soon it was time to say thank you to Jerome and head back to school. The students gave Jerome a Thank You card signed by all of them, and we left Eastbrookend Country Park and headed back to school. The students were all pleased by their efforts of the morning. They understood the importance of giving something back, the positive impact of supporting the local parks and that even a couple of hours of community support can make a huge difference.
A special Thank You to Jerome and Eastbrookend Country Park in Dagenham for hosting our Yes Futures Play Your Part day!
Stephanie Salgado, Yes Futures Coach
To find out more about how your students could get involved with the Yes Futures Programmes, please contact Sophie, Impact Manager: email@example.com, 07908 687779 or visit our website.
If you're interested in becoming a Play Your Part partner, please contact Helena, Head of Programmes: firstname.lastname@example.org.