On Wednesday 6th November, we took a group of Year 8 & 9 students from King Edmund School in Rochford to a local independent charity called Trust Links for their ‘Play your part’ day. The Rising Futures Programme is partnered with various charities to organise a day where the students engage with the local community.
When we arrived at Trust Links, we were welcomed by Tracey who works for the charity. She gave us a quick tour around the gardens to get our bearings and then told the group how we would be helping out for the day. To start with, the whole group was split in to 2 smaller groups – one started working on building the dead hedge in the garden area whilst the other group started to clear the leaves from the path around the building.
Many students got stuck in to their tasks straight away – with enthusiasm in using the tools and completing the tasks. There were some that were slightly reluctant with the physical work, but with a bit of encouragement, they soon joined in and started to enjoy themselves. After an hour’s work, we stopped for a quick break. There was a bit of healthy competition between the 2 teams about who had done a better job!
After break, the teams swapped tasks and continued to clear the pathways and build the dead hedge. Everyone worked well together, there was a lot of team work, encouragement and some of the quieter members found their voice and position in the group which was lovely to see. All the students seemed to enjoy themselves and even commented how it was better than they expected. They reflected on the skills used during the morning – communication, confidence, resilience and self-awareness.
We then made our way inside, where a member of staff gave the students a talk about how Trust Links helps promote wellbeing and support people with mental health issues. There are several sites around Essex which provide ‘growing together’ community gardens which encourages socialisation, building confidence, provides training and also promotes and establishes a strong community. The students were interested to hear how their contribution had helped the charity to prepare for welcoming guests to planned activities and group sessions.
To finish the day, the students were invited to make Christmas decorations which could be sold at the charity Christmas fayre. From twigs and sticks which had been collected earlier in the day, the students were able to choose which decoration they wanted to make – a reindeer, star, Christmas tree ornament etc. This was a really enjoyable task, and you could soon see the enthusiasm, creativity, compliments to others and pride in the room of what everyone created. This was also a good opportunity to discuss with the students what they had learnt from the visit and if they had achieved their personal goal which they had set themselves in the morning.
A big thank you to our partner Trust Links for providing such an interesting Play Your Part day. The students came away with a lot of pride for supporting such an inspiring charity.
To find out more about how your students could get involved with the Yes Futures Programmes, please contact Sophie, Impact Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org, 07908 687779 or visit our website.
If you're interested in becoming a Play Your Part partner, please contact Helena, Head of Programmes: email@example.com.