Harrogate students inspire their neighbours

A group of students from Springwater School with learning disabilities recently celebrated the completion of a community impact project.

Sixth form students at the school in Harrogate engaged in Community Action workshops and led an impact project on behalf of their elderly neighbours at Belmont House care home in Starbeck.

About Inspire Me

Students took part in a project called Inspire Me, set up by Mencap and ENABLE Scotland to support 25,000 young people with a learning disability aged 14-25 across the UK. Inspire Me is funded by The Co-operative Charity of the Year partnership which has raised over £7 million for young people with a learning disability. Young people with learning disabilities are twice as likely not to be engaged in education, employment or training as those without.

The Inspire Me project provides activities and training that give young people with a learning disability the chance to learn new skills and to build their confidence. 

Raising funds

During workshops students planned the event and decided to go ahead with a sponsored walk to raise additional funds for a Christmas Carol service. Students agreed the carol service would be a positive experience for residents at Belmont House. Students were supported to identify their role in the project. They did this by creating a large community collage in the form of a jigsaw that pulled together different aspects of the planned event. Each Jigsaw piece was used as a symbol for each student and recognised their desire to be a valued member of their community. The Jigsaw acts as a visual reminder of the aim to improve community cohesion.  

Charlene Robson, the Youth Coordinator for the Inspire Me project in Yorkshire, explained:

“It was such an amazing experience working with students at Springwater School. Doing the sponsored walk was fantastic and everyone showed such determination and completed the full 5 miles. Students raised a massive £200 in additional funds to put towards the event at Belmont house and should be extremely proud of this achievement.” 

Christmas Carol service

On the day of the Christmas Carol service students baked delicious treats including mince pies and orange shortbread. Residents were treated to well known Christmas Carols sung by students and staff. Raffle prizes were handed out by students to the lucky winners before they served their homemade desserts. Residents expressed that the experience was fantastic and made a positive difference to their Christmas.  The remainder of funds raised from the sponsored walk is being donated to a second elderly residential home in the local area and a charity of the students choice.  

Charlene Robson added:

 “I feel privileged to have worked with both students and staff at Springwater School on what has been a very heart warming experience. Students have not only positively contributed to lives of one elderly community but two and this really showcases the strong impact young people today can make”.  

 If you would like to find out more about Inspire Me or refer a young person contact Charlene Robson – Yorkshire & Humberside Youth Coordinator, at charlene.robson@mencap.org.uk or alternatively call 07432 694462.