Three participants in Devon have been volunteering with a local food bank as part of their Bronze Awards.
Haydn Rezahi, Jason Jones and Ryan Sigsworth are students at Mill Ford School in Plymouth. They have been volunteering with Provide Devon since October 2022, as they work towards their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards.
Mill Ford is a school with a specialism in meeting the needs of children and young adults with complex needs and the three participants have enjoyed being able to help other people through their volunteering:
The participants said: “I would like to carry on working at the food bank when I leave Mill Ford to help out. It was good to help people that do not have food. I enjoyed making the parcels and helping other people.”
Provide Devon is a charity which supports local people at crisis point with food and other essentials, using a combination of fresh produce and donated food from retailers, businesses and the local community and Steve Bailey is the Operations/ Charity Manager.
Steve said: “It is without a doubt that I can say we have enjoyed every placement day and have seen the growth in confidence of each individual young person. We have observed the building of great camaraderie and compassion for each other and others who work with these young men.
The placement has given us the opportunity to increase manpower on a Monday afternoon and allow for other essential duties to performed. I have witnessed each young man grow in their skill set and am confident in giving tasks in the knowledge they will be completed well and within their ability.”
The DofE Manager at the school is Robyn Becker, who has seen benefits for the participants, the school and the wider community.
Robyn says: “The young people have shown empathy for those less fortunate than themselves. They have independently organised collections to donate to the food bank, asking staff at school for donations. It has given them a sense of purpose and responsibility and raised aspirations with how they can contribute to those in our community.
It allows our students to achieve in line with their mainstream peers and give back to the community. It is a way to celebrate the fantastic achievements in our curriculum. The students have seen how their actions can have a positive impact on others and that unpaid work can be rewarding and beneficial to lots of people. It has allowed them to build relationships with people that work in our community.”
The relationship which has developed between the school and the charity and the way that working together has benefitted everybody involved has been key to developing a successful partnership.
Steve added: “Provide have been working alongside the Mill Ford since Sept 2021 and have built a fantastic relationship with both tutors and students alike. The students have come to Provide well prepared, well-mannered and with the support and professionalism of their tutor, which has enabled us to provide a structured and safe working and learning environment. Working with Mill Ford and the students has been an absolute pleasure and we look forward to continuing this relationship.”