VolunteeringService in the community
We have a long tradition of pupils taking part in community service throughout the school years, but particularly in Years 10 upwards. Girls volunteer with local schools, charitable organisations and community projects for a minimum of one term but many continue for much longer. Volunteering and working on community projects is also an important aspect of the Duke of Edinburgh awards and the overseas expeditions.
Many of our students volunteer in local primary schools and nurseries – in recent years Flora Gardens, West London Free Primary School, John Betts, Brackenbury Primary School, Lena Gardens, Jordans Montessori, Larmentier and Sacred Heart School – assisting in the classroom or setting up specific clubs such as Reading and Beyond Club – a weekly group for Year 1 pupils – and Globetrotters Club – a group for Year 3 and 4 students which aims to broaden cultural understanding. Sixth Formers also volunteer at the Rugby Portobello Trust as academic mentors at their after school homework club.
We have established programmes working with partner schools running the London Middle School and London Junior Debating competitions and also run workshops for local Primary Schools. Our Sixth Form students assist with coaching, chairing and judging in the competitions and also attend and train the Sacred Heart High School and Fulham Boys School Secondary School Debating Teams; Fulham Boys School recently won the London Debating Challenge.
The volunteering programme evolves and changes every year depending on partner needs and the students’ interests, but recent projects have included: contributing to a Food Bank project which provides food to local homeless shelters; volunteering at the Glass door charity, London’s largest emergency night shelter provider for the homeless; placements at local care homes for the elderly such as Nazareth House; monthly tea parties for the elderly, held at our school; Harvest Festival collections for local old people’s homes and homeless shelters; a Christmas tea party for local elderly residents.
Many of our student volunteering projects blossom into long-term mutually-beneficial partnerships and in some cases develop even further. Recently, our Upper Sixth student, Daisy, was named the Inspiring Young Person of the Year at the Dementia Friendly Awards. Daisy was inspired by her time volunteering at Nazareth House Care Home to start a programme of free art workshops for people with dementia and their carers.
Daisy attended a specialised arts training seminar put on by the charity Arts4Dementia, before interviewing and recruiting art facilitators getting support from the council, businesses and leading charities to set up 25 Art Workshops in venues across West London. Daisy is currently working on expanding the workshop programme to be delivered in a chain of care homes across London and in the US.