School Volunteers – recognised for the amazing work that they do.
PRESS RELEASE – Schools Volunteers Make a Difference – It’s Official!
Schools, and the volunteers who work with their pupils to help with reading and numeracy, were honoured last week at a reception in Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI), a fitting venue in which to recognise the importance of learning.
Through a number of projects the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP) aims to support the wellbeing of the over 50s enabling them to use their skills and experience for the benefit of the local community.
These volunteers, some retired teachers, but all with a love of books, shared their experiences over a cup of tea and explained what drew them into the programme.
Schools and volunteers involved in the RSVP schools project in BANES and South Gloucestershire were invited to celebrate their work at BRSLI where Stephen Ward, Emeritus Professor of Education from Bath Spa University presented certificates of recognition emphasising the importance of reading in helping children flourish.
Among the Bath schools represented were Newbridge, St Philips, Swainswick, and St Andrew’s Primary Schools, and St. Mark’s Secondary School; as well as Kings Oak Academy in Kingswood.
Joan Whitehead, the RSVP Regional Organiser spoke of how volunteers are keen to share their passion for books and numbers by working on a one-to-one basis, listening to children read, helping them with numeracy and, in some cases, modern foreign languages. “It’s a win-win situation, with pupils benefiting from the individual attention volunteers provide and volunteers gaining a sense of satisfaction from playing a part in pupils’ development.“
Mary Young, who has volunteered at Widcombe Junior School since 2013, remembered one boy who started the year very reluctant to speak at all, but who after one on onr help was “chatting away like there was no tomorrow”! Her feeling is that just having someone with the time to listen intently made all the difference.
Volunteer Allison Bacon says “Just giving children the chance to express themselves and put forward their personal opinions on the books they read seems to help with their understanding”.
At St. Andrew’s Primary School, Kate Sandey praised the involvement of Chadrakant Doshi,who worked for many years as an engineer and who brings his experience in industry to mathematics, thoroughly engaging the children by relating classroom maths to their life experiences.
Dr. Sylvia Carpenter, who is RSVP Surgeries Organiser (RSVP also assist people who need to attend medical appointments) encouraged everyone to spread the word about volunteering: after all, it’s one way to put the Big Society into action! www.rsvp-west.org.uk
Dr Sylvia Carpenter – closing the meeting