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Ursuline Links summer projects

07-Sep-2017

 

 By Hannah Wood, Ursuline Links Youth Coordinator

Over the past few weeks, Ursuline Links has been running its summer projects which, this year, consisted of the London Day Camp and London Social Justice.  We had so many wonderful volunteers helping out with both projects, with 14 girls in year 12 from the Ursuline Schools in Wimbledon, Westgate, Forest Gate and Brentwood who were volunteering for the first time. We also had 13 adult volunteers, most of whom had helped out on the projects before and had returned to help out again.

The London Day Camp is a week of activities run for about 25 primary school children from families in need in the London borough of Newham. Organised by Sister Kathleen, we spent the week providing a variety of activities for the children including crafts, music, playing in the sandpit and drama. There was also a day trip to Southend-on-Sea, where we played at the seaside in ponchos. We ended the week with a sports day and fun day. It’s safe to say that all the children, and all us volunteers and helpers had a truly wonderful time.

The London Social Justice project is a week spent volunteering in various food banks, soup kitchens and projects across London. The young people had the opportunity to help out at a variety of centres in the week. We worked at 10 in total, which included RAMP (the refugee and migrant project), working with the local community projects at Neighbours in Poplar, serving meals for the homeless at various sites, including the Franciscan Friary in Canning Town, Carpenters Café in Stratford, Emmanuel Church in Forest Gate and St Francis Church in Stratford.

We also helped at Redbridge food bank, Bonny downs food bank and two drop-in centre’s for the homeless: Deptford Reach and the Welcome Centre Ilford. The students worked hard and made really positive contributions, as well as personally gaining an eye-opening experience.

Being a part of these summer projects has been great. I have spent the last few months working on the logistics and with the student volunteers to prepare them, as well as talking about the projects and the future ones we have planned in the Ursuline schools. To be a part of the projects and to see first-hand what they are like, and the experience it gives the volunteers and participants they help, is incredible.

It has enabled me to fully grasp the vision of Ursuline Links and to witness how it changes the lives of the students who volunteer and the people they encounter. I am excited for this coming year and to see what projects we will have completed by this time next year.