Young Ambassadors inspire with social action projects
Team London Young Ambassadors is the Mayor’s school volunteering programme which connects young Londoners with their communities through social action.
Here we learn a little more about their individual projects and the good that these young people do!
Pupils at Aldborough Primary school were inspired to explore homelessness after reading Street Child, about an orphan in Victorian London who escapes the workhouse and lives on the streets. They researched some of the reasons why people can become homeless and decided to collect care items to give to people who may need them. And after designing posters and letters advertising their campaign, donations started coming in!
As well as helping those in need, it also engaged the students and helped develop their empathy. Sadaf, aged 10, sums up the experience: "When we researched homelessness I was so shocked to see how homeless people were treated and how they lived. I never knew that they were treated so badly. I felt happy when we gave the blankets to them."
Conway Primary School is in quite a deprived area; almost 40% of students at the school use a food bank. For their social action project, students decided to do a food drive to raise awareness and to help donate food to where it was needed. They hosted a competition to see who could collect the most food, and also did a WE Are Silent march around the local area, holding up banners and posters highlighting poverty and food insecurity. 500 students were involved in the food drive and the school collected over 1000 items for the local food bank.
It had a great impact – not only the donations but also on the pupils and their sense of achievement. Their teacher commented, ‘It was a massive success. The feeling was very empowering and uplifting.’
The Vale School is a special needs school in Tottenham. This year the students focussed their project on homelessness. Many of them spoke of walking past homeless people daily, and how they didn’t always know how to help.
The group visited a local night shelter called Kemble Hall, hearing some of the reasons people may become homeless and what sort of support they can receive. The students then helped the centre set up the blow-up mattresses for that night. They then had a visit from Depaul, a youth homeless charity, where they learnt how to tackle the stigma around homelessness, so they could raise awareness about it in school. Their project aims not only to help address homelessness, but also impact the confidence of the students, as they take ownership of a project and learn how to interact with others.
Students from Edward Wilson Primary School in Westminster ran an awareness campaign about the environment. They gave presentations on how students could make a positive impact - both in their school and local community. Students dressed up in ‘earth’ colours and donated money to go towards gardening equipment, plants and seeds, to be used on their very own green piece of land adopted from the Canal & River Trust.
Next year their exciting project will include a "bug hotel", 30 log seats, bird houses and bat boxes, a wild flower section, herbs/vegetables and sections for students to plant their own bulbs. They will also learn how to implement a composting and irrigation system. Not only are they learning science whilst being outdoors, but they will also raise awareness about the importance of protecting our environment.
Students at Kelmscott Secondary School in Walthamstow decided to raise awareness of violence against women and girls - specifically in their borough. They researched statistics relating to Waltham Forest, putting these onto T-Shirts which they wore in silence at the school on 8 June. They collected sponsorship for their silence, which will be donated to a local refuge. The students also created an art installation, cutting out shapes of women with one representing every 10 cases of violence reported in the borough.
Not only have the students gained in confidence and social understanding but they are now the lead school in the borough for this project and will be helping six other schools to deliver programmes in their own schools.