The 5 Abingdon Schools Peer Supports partnership is a collaboration between St Helen’s and four other local schools, Abingdon, Larkmead, John Mason and Fitzharrys, designed to share good practice and training for Sixth Form students to become mentors in their schools. It provides the opportunity for students from all year groups across Abingdon to have access to individuals who are trained and passionate about supporting students through any challenges – the aim is to widen the provision of support within the mental health framework of each school. The impact is already being felt because it is a student-led approach to mentoring, as well as being an important leadership development opportunity for Sixth Form students.
Peer mentoring in lockdown
Community service is a year–long commitment of a double lesson once a week in the first year of Sixth Form and can be recognised for the service section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It is an opportunity for the students to work directly with people in the local community and over the years St Helen’s has forged long-standing links with various associations and schools in Abingdon. For example, students may dedicate time to help at local primary schools, childcare groups and retirement homes (such as Stowford House).
The 'Send a hug' project
During the COVID-19 pandemic, groups of students got together, under the leadership of our Chaplain, Reverend Elizabeth, to bring some lockdown cheer to residents at Stowford House Care home in Abingdon. St Helen's has a longstanding connection with Stowford House, therefore the urge to do something which would make 2020 a little less tough for them was strong. 30 students sent crocheted or knitted 3D hearts with letters, and received heartwarming thanks. It was a powerful thing to feel that we had brought some joy to our local community in a very challenging time.
"Thank you so much for the lovely heart present. It’s hanging high up on the wall so that it’ll be the first thing I see when I wake up, and the last thing I see when I go to sleep.
I am very impressed at the detailed and careful work that has been put into making it. Also the beautiful design of the flowers.
As I’m writing this I’ve almost got a tear in my eye.
Thanks again for such a lovely surprise."
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