This club year SI Great Yarmouth have been really lucky to be able to sponsor a SI School Club at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Gorleston and this has been incredibly successful. With 22 students on the membership list, they have really enjoyed getting involved in projects this year. I’m aware that the school club project was a gamble for SI Great Yarmouth and some members were hesitant about running this project, however I really do feel that this has paid off massively with getting our name out there within the local community, particularly with young people and getting young people involved in volunteering and charity work in the name of SI.
In August 2021 the school club was launched and advertised to students via social media and email. Students were encouraged to attend the first session on 13th September which was an information session about SI and students were given leaflets, etc. On 27th September students then had their second session whereby they discussed possible areas of interest for projects. Some mentioned were:
- Climate change and the environment- recycling, beach clean and tree planting
- Discrimination and education inequality- gender myths in subjects, women in STEMM, period poverty
- Homelessness- work with local Salvation Army and foodbanks
In October the college applied for grants from Woodland Trust and the Tree Council for packs of trees to be sent to the college so that school club members could plant trees on the college site, which arrived and were planted by school club members on 7th February 2022. As well as this, in October two of the school club members were sponsored to attend SIGBIs virtual conference and four of the school club members attended our speakers meeting with Marie from Salvation Army, which they found very informative.
On 8th November school club members were also presented with their certificates and badges by past President Pat Hollis and club members, which the students enjoyed a lot and were very grateful for. On 22nd November the school club members ran their own White Ribbon Day project in which they made and decorated white ribbons with statistics, inspirational quotes, etc which were then displayed at the sixth form college Reception w/c 22th November for White Ribbon Day (25th November) to educate other students on violence against women.
On 6th December the school club organised their own food bank collection, in which they collected 5 boxes of food! There was so much food that the club decided to split it between the college’s food bank collection for Gorleston Baptist Church and The Salvation Army in Great Yarmouth. As well as this they were set a project for over the Christmas holidays to collect as many ring pulls as possible for the Purple Community Fund and they collected over 2400- which is amazing! In January Jane Walker MBE came to the college to give a presentation to the school club members on the work that they do overseas which the students really enjoyed and found it so inspiring to see how their efforts would help.
As mentioned previously on 7th February the school club members planted around 20 trees on the college site. Students said how much they enjoyed being outside and doing something good for the environment but also good for themselves with being outdoors and gardening!
In March the school club have been organising a project around improving student wellbeing and mental health in the future by beginning a social club for students struggling with loneliness and making friends. They’ve also been organising a project to try and tackle period poverty by campaigning to get free sanitary items available in all toilets. We are hoping that both projects can begin once they’ve been approved by the finance and senior leadership team. The Leadership Award has also been launched at the college and we’ve had a number of students show interest, some of which are members of the school club. I will be running an information session on this at the college on Thursday 21st April to give prospective applicants some more information on the award.
I would like to thank club members for their continuing support with the school club but most importantly thank the students themselves for engaging in and really taking a proactive role in shaping the projects undertaken by the school club this year. I’m really looking forward to finishing the academic year with the school club members and then hopefully continuing with new school club members from September.