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. Northam is a small neighbourhood in Southampton near the heart of the city which is geographically quite isolated and with few local amenities.
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.
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. Canford's involvement with youth work in inner city Southampton reached its seventeenth anniversary in 2019. A recent reorganisation involving Northam joining forces with neighbouring projects in St. Mary's and Holyrood resulted in a new identity - the City Reach Youth Project - allowing Canfordians to make even wider contacts with youngsters in the city.
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.
One Canford Sixth Former said:
“We have a really great bond with all of these children when we go camping and spend time with them at their youth centre. Over the activity weekend we try and get them to push their boundaries and achieve goals they didn’t really believe were possible.”
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.