Syston schoolchildren volunteer in the community for a day

Wreake Valley Academy students Ethan Remnant and Robert Walmsley do some voluntary gardening in Syston for Make A Difference Day EMN-150717-131448001
Wreake Valley Academy students Ethan Remnant and Robert Walmsley do some voluntary gardening in Syston for Make A Difference Day EMN-150717-131448001
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Pupils at a Syston school spent a day doing voluntary work to help individuals and organisations in the town as part of a new community initiative.

Youngsters from year nine at Wreake Valley Academy worked at a residential home, helped elderly and disabled people with their shopping and gardening, assisted a police officer and picked up litter as part of the first ever Make A Difference Day.

Bailey Taylor helps out at a community lunch in Syston on Make A Difference Day for Wreake Valley Academy EMN-150717-131458001

Bailey Taylor helps out at a community lunch in Syston on Make A Difference Day for Wreake Valley Academy EMN-150717-131458001

It was organised in conjunction with Syston and District Volunteer Centre, based in School Street, which provided transport for the children to get to each venue in the town.

The enterprise had a profound effect on the 127 pupils who took part.

Holly Sturgess-Bowes (14), who played the violin for elderly people at a community lunch, and 13-year-old Maya Shell, who took photographs of the various work tasks, both said they enjoyed the day and it opened their eyes to the value of voluntary work.

Another student, Thibault  Ward, said: “Volunteering gives a positive feeling and good thoughts, and it is good to make where you live nicer for you and the others that live there.”

Wreake Valley Academy pupils Jacob Kendrick, Sophie Walker, Gemma Vissani, Mia Agar, Tyler Elliott and Amber Glover, with teacher Karon Simpson (teacher), paint a mural at St Peter and St Paul Primary Academy in Syston on Make A Difference Day EMN-150717-131438001

Wreake Valley Academy pupils Jacob Kendrick, Sophie Walker, Gemma Vissani, Mia Agar, Tyler Elliott and Amber Glover, with teacher Karon Simpson (teacher), paint a mural at St Peter and St Paul Primary Academy in Syston on Make A Difference Day EMN-150717-131438001

The students also raised £200 for Rainbows Hospice by baking cakes, they painted a mural at St Peter and St Paul Primary Academy in Syston, and they were visited in school by members of the Guide Dogs organisation, and their animals, to hear how important volunteers are to their work.

Belinda Nuttall, assistant principal, said: ““What impressed me about this year group was that they fully embraced this volunteering experience.

“Their attitude to the day was utterly amazing and I am so proud of them.”

Mark Smith, centre manager for Syston and District Volunteer Centre, which helped co-ordinate the day, said: “All of those involved, especially the youngsters, were exceptionally well behaved and the comments that I have had back from those clients that were involved in the day have all been very complimentary.

“From our part it has been a real pleasure working with the school, the staff and the kids and we hope to be in a position to not only do this again next year but also roll it out to other schools in the area.”