Monday was Power of Youth Day, an annual celebration of the contributions children and young people make to society through volunteering and social action. We, therefore, wanted to reflect on some of the fantastic volunteering our students do in the local community.
Our CAS programme is our focus for co-curricular provision at Giggleswick. It is shaped around a balanced programme of creative, active, and service components. The service component gives students a range of volunteering opportunities. We timetable these activities into the school day to allow pupils to undertake all three strands. This develops a variety of strengths, helps our local community and contributes to the wellbeing of our pupils too. Lily from Year 11 said of her volunteering:
“Volunteering at the Junior School has not only helped me to develop my leadership and communication skills but helping the younger students has also been a fun and enjoyable experience.”
In June 2020, despite being in the midst of the pandemic, we received a certificate from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which recognised our pupils volunteering hours over the year. In fact, despite unprecedented circumstances, our students safely volunteered for a total of 520 hours between 23rd March and 31st August that year.
More recently, a huge variety of volunteering has taken place here at the school and in the community:
Boys from Morrison House took part in a 24 hour cycle to raise money for the Guide Dogs Association. Inspired by Old Giggleswickian, Harry Kessler’s 900-mile bike ride, they raised £1,300 and cycled 1700km.
Eight students volunteered their time to plant 100 trees in the community, donated by The Woodland Trust. These species of trees were specifically chosen as they will grow to provide both habitat and food for a wide range of native birds and animals.
Lower Sixth students have trained as mental health ambassadors as part of a Peer Education Project, receiving specific training in wellbeing and mental health. They have gone on to deliver workshops to our Year 7 pupils.
Pupils cleared rubbish, soil and weeds on a pathway to local landmark, The Plague Stone. The Plague Stone has a shallow trough that used to be filled with vinegar and was used to sterilise the coins left by the villagers as payment for food from local farms. This work meant the area is now much tidier for local residents and tourists to visit it.
As current Giggleswick families will know, the school is in walking distance to the local town of Settle. Pupils take part in regular volunteering at the town’s Age UK charity shop and at The Folly – the town’s museum.
David, in Year 12, said of his experience:
“I really enjoyed volunteering at the Age UK store in Settle, it showed me that working isn’t just about getting paid, I liked helping people. I also learnt about the different departments that all together function as a shop. The social aspect in the store is incredible as well, as you get to know the local community and you talk to them a lot which they, and I, enjoy.”
We look forward to reporting future outcomes of volunteering projects on our social media platforms and here in the news section of our website. Well done to all of our pupils who give so much of their time to the service aspect of the CAS programme alongside their learning.