Young people at Highfield Leadership Academy reached out to older people in the local community by throwing them a Christmas party.
On Wednesday 20 December pupils welcomed around 40 older people living close to our school for an afternoon of food and festive entertainment.
Pupils across all year groups were involved in preparations for the party for older people affected by loneliness or with little family living close by. Those who have attended Christmas themed after school clubs made table decorations and personalised handmade cards for the guests, and Year 10 GCSE students prepared a tempting afternoon tea.
The school choir was in fine voice, entertaining guests with traditional carols, and Year 11 prefects took on the role of hosts.
Prefect Ben Montgomery commented,
“We especially enjoyed sharing stories and singing with our guests. They are an inspiration and we can learn so much from them. Throughout 2018 we hope to build upon the links we have made and be active citizens within our local community.”
Helen Mackenzie OBE, our Executive Principal, said,
“It was a very valuable experience for our pupils to have been involved in, as they worked together to organise and host this Christmas party for older people from our local community.
“We aim to instil in our pupils a sense of responsibility and a drive to address issues that concern them. By inviting into school this group of local residents, our pupils have gained a deeper understanding of loneliness among this age group and the effect it can have on health and wellbeing.
“More importantly it highlighted to our guests that they are valued members of our local community. It was certainly heart-warming to see the difference we have made to them at this special time of year.”
Blackpool resident Eddie Jackson came along to the Christmas party at Highfield Leadership Academy. He said,
“I feel that the future generation is in great condition as the pupils of Highfield Leadership Academy proved by inviting some of our community to an afternoon Christmas party. I felt so welcomed by the young people.”
Shirley Hill of South Shore Community Group added,
“I know how much work and effort must have gone into all the food preparation, the decorations, gifts and cards. The choir gave an excellent performance, which I can appreciate as I can’t sing a note in tune. I look forward to working with the pupils again in our local community.”
Residents who weren’t well enough to attend Highfield’s tea party didn’t miss out – pupils delivered handmade cards and gift hampers to their homes.
During December the entire Highfield Leadership Academy community pulled together to serve their local community throughout the festive season. Appeals for donations to local charities supporting young homeless people and those having to rely on food banks have proved successful, with school partners and local residents also making contributions. The school’s Kindness Calendar, opened digitally every day, encouraged pupils and staff alike to look out for others and perform random acts of kindness during advent.
A Christmas carol service held in St Mary’s Church also brought the community together, with pupils delivering readings and the school choir singing carols.
Through the Festive Winter Gift Programme, all schools run by Star Academies, aim to offer support to the most vulnerable people – young and old – in their communities, those who are unwell, elderly, living in care, those who experience loneliness or food poverty. The Trust’s aim is to ensure that no one in the communities around its schools goes without a card or a gift at this festive time of year.