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Kings Heath students celebrating volunteering award in style
Students from the Baverstock School in Kings Heath, Birmingham, celebrated reaching the national finals of a volunteering award by attending a star-studded ceremony at London’s O2 arena.
The team of 18-19 year olds had already won the West Midlands regional prize in the vinspired awards for their volunteering but took their win to the next level when they were nominated as a national finalist.
They had been nominated by the volunteering that they had done in cleaning up their local area. Instead of just going out with litter pickers themselves, the enterprising young people got the whole community involved by making it a social occasion with live music, food and activities.
Realising that the proliferation of litter and graffiti in their neighbourhood was putting off visitors, unpleasant for residents and adding to community tensions, the pupils decided to tackle all three issues and bring together the school, local residents and students in an orgy of cleaning. At the end of a long day, 60 bags of rubbish had been collected and the area left in a much better state. To make sure that things didn’t slide back again, the team introduced Sixth Form Community Reps to continue with their efforts into the future.
The Baverstock team won the regional prize in the ‘Connect’ category in the vinspired awards which recognised “innovative and effective efforts to bring communities together”. Nine regional winners in each category were then whittled down to three national finalists and were invited down to London’s O2 arena. The O2 bash featured Natasha Beddingfield, James Cann from Dragons’ Den and Olympic athlete Jason Gardner.
Speaking at the event, Baverstock student Dale said,
“It’s been amazing to receive this kind of acknowledgement for the project that we did. At the time it just seemed like the right thing to do to improve our local area and we had great fun doing it. There are plenty more young people out there doing similar things and I just hope these awards will encourage more positive coverage of the things young people are doing in their communities.”
CEO of youth volunteering charity vinspired, Terry Ryall, praised the efforts of the Baverstock team,
“Baverstock School Envision Team are a complete inspiration. As regional winners in the Connect category they needed to demonstrate a complete dedication to volunteering and show how they built positive relationships, brought people from diverse backgrounds together and strengthened communities. The Baverstock School Envision Team has done all this and more and should be immensely proud of their achievements.”
The Baverstock team are part of Envision and Truth About Youth which supports 16-19 year olds from over 120 schools and colleges in Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and London, helping them design their own local community projects which tackle issues ranging from street crime to climate change.