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care home students visit
Students have visited residents at Fern Brook Lodge Care Home.

Gillingham School’s Sixth Form has been working hard to build links with the local community, in a project led by the assistant head of Sixth Form, El Little. Over the course of the school year, all students will undertake a half term of volunteering. The purpose of this work, says the school,  is to help develop skills of confidence, communication and community awareness amongst the students, whilst also having a positive impact on local residents and beyond. It is part of the wider Personal Development programme within Gillingham Sixth Form, which also includes a focus on building leadership skills and providing enrichment opportunities.

This term this has has involved a number of different activities. Students have been visiting residents at Fern Brook Lodge Care Home and spent time chatting with the residents. Two of the students are members of TLW Dance Company in Shaftesbury, and put their skills to good use putting on musical and dance performances. The students involved say they have found it a very rewarding experience getting to know the residents.

litter picking
Students have been out in the town picking up litter.

One of the 6th formers, Poppy Marshall said ‘It was so interesting finding out about their lives before they came to the care home. I found it really uplifting and it always really brightened my day’. Care home staff reported that the residents really looked forward to the visits and loved the singing and dancing. Because the residents were not able to attend the school Christmas Carol Concert, on the last day of the school term members of the school orchestra, led by Head of Music Liam Carey, visited the Care Home to put on a Christmas music performance.

shoebox
The Shoebox Appeal.

Another group oversaw the organisation of the Rotary Club Shoebox Appeal within school, with individuals and tutor groups putting together shoe boxes to be sent to children in eastern European countries for Christmas. This involved promoting the appeal within the school, raising funds for donations, and organising the delivery and collection of boxes to be sent off. Further charity events have taken place in school, led by students, to raise funds for local organisations.

There have also been students regularly litter picking on a Wednesday afternoon in Gillingham town centre. This has provided them with the opportunity to interact with local members of the community. We have been very grateful of the support provided to this project by Dextra Group. Natasha Ward, Group CCO, kindly organised supplying the school with hi-vis jackets and lanyards with the school logo and slogan ‘Gillingham School Serving the Community’. This has allowed the public to see the positive work the students are undertaken.

Over the coming months, says the school, the Sixth Form is planning to extend the community project further and links with other local organisations to deepen the relationship between the school and town.

shoebox
Students have helped with the Rotary Club Shoebox Appeal.
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