Focus on our young volunteers

5 November 2019

Check out the ways our young volunteers from the National Citizen Service and Henrietta Barnet School are making a difference to Norwood and the people we support.

Ruth Korel is Norwood’s young people’s programme and projects manager, community engagement and volunteering. Her role involves engaging with young people from schools, synagogues and youth organisations across London to tell them about Norwood and introduce them to the wide variety of opportunities we offer for volunteering and social action.
Here are some of the activities our young volunteers have been getting involved in over the last few months.

NCS students spruce up services’ gardens

Four groups of young people involved in The Challenge programme with the National Citizen Service (NCS) gave up their time to raise a total of £700, some of which they spent on transforming the gardens of Buckets and Spades, our short-breaks service in Hendon; and three of our London homes.

Each group, aged between 15 and 17 years old, all received an induction from Norwood before embarking on their gardening project and each carried out a fundraising activity to raise money to buy the equipment they needed. They also hit various high streets to raise awareness about Norwood and our work, and to encourage others to volunteer for us.

Here’s how they got on.

Bucket and Spades

The first group did a sponsored walk. With the £140 they raised, they bought plants, windmills, solar fairy lights and lanterns, a large gnome named Norman, and some decorations to make the garden of our Buckets and Spades short-breaks service a little paradise for the children who stay there.

They cleared the front garden, cut back bushes, weeded, swept, planted and also painted stones and ornaments to make the garden a welcoming sight for all the children, staff and visitors. Home manager Claire Politzer said: “Without the Young Volunteering Programme and the young people from NCS, it wouldn’t look as great as it does.”

Woodcock Dell

The second group headed to our Woodcock Dell residential home in Harrow. With the £300 they raised from organising a sponsored walk, plus a donation of £50 worth of lights and ornaments from one of the parents, they transformed the garden there. Not only did they remove every single weed in the front and back gardens, swept and planted, but they also made a fairy and gnome garden. Home manager Philma Mendoza said: “They did a great job transforming it into a colourful garden. The people we support seemed delighted to see the ornaments, plants and especially the colourful lights at night. A massive thank you to the NCS team from all of us at Woodcock Dell.”

Station Road

Our residential home in Station Road was delighted with the work of the third group of NCS students who used the £80 they raised from a sponsored walk to buy plants for the home’s garden. In addition to planting, they also completed tons of weeding, and washed down and swept cleaned the patio. By the time they left, the whole garden looked pristine. Home manager Sofia Iringan said: “Thank you for the hard work and the plants. The staff are keeping them watered.”

Carlton Avenue

The fourth and final NCS group turned up at our Carlton Avenue residential home in Harrow loaded with plants, soil, fairy lights, windmills and decorations to brighten up its garden. They used some of the £200 they raised from a sponsored sports day to buy these items and spent the first half of the day weeding, sweeping and making the garden tidy. After lunch, they focused on making the garden look bright and colourful by painting stones, ornaments and pots; planting flowers; and writing positive messages for the people we support on CDs to hang up in the garden. Home manager Eugene Valdez and resident Laurie came out to see the garden and loved the results. Laurie said: “This is the best group that has come and volunteered in the garden.”

Henrietta Barnett students spend memorable day with Norwood
Twenty-five students in year 11 at Henrietta Barnet School, which won the School’s Award at our Volunteer Recognition Awards this year, spent a day learning about Norwood and Shabbat, producing framed pictures for our Buckets and Spades short-breaks service, and making gifts for the families we support at Kennedy Leigh.

Having listened to a talk about Norwood from Ruth Korel at their school assembly, 25 students came to Kennedy Leigh to find out more about the charity and to offer their services, as part of Henrietta Barnet School’s community volunteering programme, which has supported Norwood for four years.

Their day started with a talk about our Buckets and Spades short-breaks service and Kennedy Leigh Family Centre. This was followed by a creative activity to produce pictures using buttons and other embellishments. With the £80 the students raised by filling up raisin boxes with coins, their amazing pictures will be framed and put up at Buckets and Spades.

Following a talk about Shabbat, the students then decorated candles and candle holders to give as gifts to the families who use our services at Kennedy Leigh. The room was awash with colourful paints and paint brushes. After the girls had designed and created beautiful patterns, they wrapped their candles and candles holders and put them in bags that they’d also decorated.

The students’ day ended on a very positive note with an inspiring talk from Michael, who has been supported by Norwood and now works at Sara’s Kitchen. The girls were truly interested in what he had to say.

Claire Leek, Head of Key Stage 4 at Henrietta Barnett School said: “I just wanted to thank you again for a really fantastic day today at the Kennedy Leigh Family Centre. The students benefited in so many ways: with their own art therapy, hearing the inspiring talk from Michael, learning more about the work of Norwood and knowing their creations were going to be put to such good use.”