Volunteer help at Bettridge School
Sixth Form pupils volunteered to help at Bettridge School for the Community Action Day
Bettridge staff welcomed volunteers to support them in their work and this is an important learning experience for the Dean Close students. All parties benefit from the day.
The member of staff in charge of the Community Action Programme contacted Bettridge to ask if volunteer Sixth Form, pupils would be welcome for the day. Similar visits have been made over many years on an ad hoc basis.
This partnership only requires the time and positive attitude of the Dean Close students, accompanied by a member of staff.
The impact is assessed by verbal and written feedback after the event. One Dean Close pupil, who joined the school in the Sixth Form only three weeks before the visit wrote:
'I just wanted to say a huge thank you for today. I wasn't meant to be doing this at first but I ended up going to Bettridge School and I cannot stress how much I benefitted from it. I think we live in a community that is under informed about disabled people, the stress that it can have upon a family and the facilities that need to be provided, as they need so much attention and care - especially when they are children. I was put with a class of children aged 10-11, who couldn't read and do any of the basic things that you would expect a child of their age to be able to complete. The experience was eye opening. I have never spent such a long period of time with them and been able to make an actual connection. The morning was both heart warming and heart wrenching and coming away from it has actually made me quite emotional. Society judges these people because they look 'different' or they act in a way that isn't seen as 'normal' to us and it makes me really upset because all they can think of to do in response, is to laugh. Laughing of course, isn't the answer and neither is crying for that matter but helping is. I can only imagine what a struggle it must be for these schools to find staff, volunteers, the correct health professionals, funding for vital equipment etc etc etc to make these places (that are SO beneficial) even function on a day-to-day basis. I feel like I have really given back to my community today and that I have learnt even more about society and the many different people that we have thriving within it. I would love to do it again.'
6 Sixth Form pupils from Dean Close were involved spending time with some of the pupils at Bettridge of different ages.
This is an annual event but there may be more regular volunteering opportunities as a result.