Following discussions with Hilltop School a young lady was identified who was interested in doing some community volunteer work. The young lady is due to leave school in July to go to Doncaster College in September, she has done some basic volunteering and is wanting to do something on her days off from college. Kirsty has down syndrome. It was agreed that Kirsty and her tutors would be introduced to a community group based at Bevan Crescent Neighbourhood Centre, having spoken to the residents in advance we arranged a visit. On the day Kirsty was joined by her tutors plus 2 other pupils. To be honest nobody knew how this visit was going to pan out, each of the girls has different needs and all find communication a challenge especially in new surroundings. What can I say though! from walking in the door the residents were so accommodating, instantly making the girls feel at ease, offering homemade cake was a deal breaker. It was obvious that they were nervous but as anxieties eased the girls relaxed, one of the tutors stated how amazing it was to see the interactions happening so quick and how nice it was to see the girls having two-way conversations with a variety of residents. The residents who are aged between early 50s to late 90s were in their element, Keith who is instrumental in the group even took the girls outside to see the garden and the things they were growing, with patience and a big smile he spoke to the girls, the girls responded by asking questions, again the tutors were amazed and one even had a tear in her eyes she said she had never seen anything so remarkable. As Kirsty and the girls made their plans to leave there was talk of a team from Hilltop versus the residents at indoor curling which really excited all involved. Kirsty is considering her options and we hope this is the start of something amazing for all.
The tutor commented, “The group were very warm and couldn’t do enough to make our students feel at ease. We felt incredibly welcome. It gave our students opportunity to practice their communication skills. Long term there are lots of opportunities for our students to develop their life skills and confidence.”