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Highlights from this year’s outreach programme

As Covid-19 restrictions eased, our pupils were able to participate in more projects to support our local community. This year, I have been extraordinarily impressed by our pupils’ willingness to get involved and selflessly give up their time for others. The feedback received from our charity partners has also been unanimously positive.

The Remove Community Action group met every Friday after school and achieved huge amounts across a range of projects.
Highlights included producing 90 handmade Christmas cards and gifts for the elderly participants in the Good Neighbour
Scheme. Between January and Easter, they also met up with nine elderly ladies who spoke with them as part of our first Life Stories project. It was wonderful to see our pupils provide companionship to vulnerable residents of Barnet and build fantastic cross-generational friendships. The project concluded in the Summer Term with a wonderful tea party. Our pupils volunteered to be waiters and waitresses and provided some beautifully-sung entertainment! They also presented each of the ladies with a personalised storybook about their lives. These were created based on the conversations they had with our pupils throughout the term.

Our pupils also supported schools within The Foundation. Ten Fourth Form artists volunteered at Grimsdell’s Parents’ Day in June to help guide the pupils to paint whilst offering their own creative input on the
theme of ‘under the sea’. The Grimsdell Parents’ Association told us that: “they were a big hit with Grimsdell pupils! And they
were a joy to be around.”

Each Wednesday during the Autumn and Spring Term a small group of Remove and Lower Sixth pupils visited Mill Hill International to assist with the AgeUK ICT Volunteering Project. Pupils worked with local elderly residents to provide technical support with everything from keeping in touch with loved ones to online shopping.

This Summer Term our first cohort of Lower Sixth volunteers went to Belmont. They assisted with literacy and enjoyed listening to readers twice a week. They also ran a much loved story-time session for Year 3
and 4. Feedback has shown that this project helped develop our pupils’ patience, gratitude and people skills.

The Lower Sixth is our busiest cohort for Community Action. This year has seen an unprecedented number of pupils being involved in six different projects. Particular highlights for 2021–2022 are the Saracens Disability Sport Partnership and a new partnership with Barnet Young Carers. On Mondays, after school, Mr Barron led trips down to the StoneX Stadium and the Sarrie’s Skills Club where our pupils supported
young people with autism and helped to facilitate their enjoyment of sport. Pupils reported that the experience gave them confidence and helped strengthen their empathy, teamwork, gratitude and practical skills.

This year has seen a new partnership develop with Barnet Young Carers. The organisation supports children aged 5–18 with caring responsibilities in their homes. Many of them also come from homes that are struggling with poverty and other social issues. A team of Lower Sixth pupils planned Community Action and delivered a two-hour fun workshop for 17 young carers aged 5–11, providing much-needed respite from their responsibilities.

John Gribbon, Activities Manager from Barnet Young Carers, writes: “I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you and all the volunteers yesterday for providing such a great session for our young carers. All who attended had a great time and I was really impressed with the variety of activities for young carers and how well the pupils engaged with the children throughout.”

Finally, Sixth Form volunteers visited Grimsdell three days a week to work as volunteer play assistants in our Pre-Prep’s wrap-around care programme. Our pupils said that this experience was a lot of fun and an excellent way to take a much-needed break from the pressures of Sixth Form life, and it also taught them patience, empathy and valuable teamwork skills.

Mrs Anna Murphy (Community Action Coordinator)