Young volunteers light up Chanukah at Norwood

2 January 2020

In the run-up to Chanukah, three separate initiatives saw schools engaging with Norwood. In the first, 30 JFS students in year 12 spent time at one of our accommodation services in Harrow and another in Hendon, first learning Makaton and then communicating with residents and jointly creating beautiful Chanukah decorations for each of the homes. The day ended with a festive pre-Chanukah celebration during which everybody enjoyed latkes, doughnuts and pastries. The volunteers were also in for a treat when Harrow residents Mitzi and Laurie entertained them with their lively rendition of songs by Elvis and Queen. It was the second year that JFS sixth-form students have volunteered and we hope it will become an annual tradition.

The second initiative involved 108 students in year 9 from South Hampstead High School, who generously creating goodie bags for Norwood’s residents to take home from our annual Chanukah party. The hard-working group wrapped their own donated chocolates in beautiful gift bags, which went down a treat with the party-goers.

With the third initiative, 15 people we support from four of our homes were invited to a festive brunch hosted by year 11 students from Henrietta Barnet School. Our residents were also joined by year 4 pupils from the local junior school, making it a truly intergenerational and inclusive event.

According to Ruth Korel, young people’s programme and projects manager, community engagement & volunteering: “The girls really did themselves proud. They made sandwiches, homemade cakes, brownies and biscuits which were delicious and made with such care. There were also performances from the school band and the choir, whose music and singing were phenomenal. Everyone got up and danced. The students also devised a Bingo game, told jokes and interacted with the people we support. A few of our Norwood residents also got up and talked to the whole room about their life at Norwood. Everyone really enjoyed it and there was a great atmosphere.” She adds: “It is now going to be an annual event.”