City Reach (Northam)
This project is a long-term partnership between our pupils and the inner city community of Northam involving a programme of visits and activities. For the people of Northam, the project provides an opportunity to take part in a range of activities which it is sometimes difficult for them to access and also provides support for the work of the Community Centre and its leaders. It is hoped that contact with Canford Sixth Formers helps build the confidence and self-esteem of the young people of Northam 521 (a youth project for two 21 year-olds).
Typical events include activity weekends at an outdoor education centre, weekend summer camps for 50 youngsters at Canford, theatre visits, trips for the elderly and joint fundraising campaigns. In 2008, a combined team of 16 - 17 year olds took part in a trekking expedition in Tanzania culminating in a stay at an orphanage near Moshi in order to help in a building project for which the group has raised funds.
After looking at new ideas from Canford pupils and from discussions with City Reach, we put in place some new schemes, the first of which was the beginnings of a long term mentoring scheme, where by increasingly, Canfordians offer not just time and attention on a few weekends scattered throughout the year but also develop a more significant and long term link with the children.
To offer Canford pupils the opportunity to contribute in a deprived city area; and to help younger members of that community.
School facilities are used extensively when City Reach visits the school. Two or three Canford staff are helped by a dozen pupils each time. The Friends of Canford School, an organisation that includes parents, parents and staff, organises an on-going sponsorship of City Reach and has, in the last, supported a visit to Tanzania by a combined group of Canford and youth groups students.
There is no formal assessment, but the youth group leaders se it as an important contribution to their work, and publicise Canford's involvement on the City Reach website.
Most of the pupils involved are from the 6th form, although younger pupils have often volunteered. As this all happens on the evenings and weekends, those volunteering tend to be quite mature/responsible, especially those who are from younger year groups.
Each year there are several day trips to Southampton, and two longer visits by the youth club to Canford. The visits to Canford involve camping, and a variety of activities round the campus organised by the Canford pupils.