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Five Years of Help from Students

Monday, 17 June 2013

Year 12 students at Bolton School have offered up 8,774 hours, or more than 5 years, of their time to help out in the local community. Their altruism was rewarded by a special Community Action Celebration Evening held in the School’s Arts Centre and attended by Debbie Dowie. 

Students were given bronze awards for offering 20-49 hours of their time to help in the community, silver awards for 50-99 hours and gold awards for offering 100 hours and over during the past academic year. Some of the students offered well above 100 hours; Waqqas Patel had given 251 hours’ of time and Nasreen Musa volunteered an amazing 262 hours to local community projects.

The students had been involved in a wide variety of activities, including assisting at Bolton Hospice, St John’s Ambulance, in food banks, with the brownies and scouts, in care homes for the elderly and with Bolton School’s own SHINE programme on Saturday mornings for local primary school children.  They were commended for juggling their academic studies, family life and their volunteering.

The students spoke eloquently about their experience, Hayley Wilding said: “The SHINE project was an amazing opportunity to help and support local pupils. The experience helped improve my maturity and has made me ready for the real world. You get so much more out of it than you put in and I have had great fun giving something back and doing something positive for the community.”

Ahmed Kazie said: “Bolton School is not just a school, it is a community and that is due to the altruism of the students.”

Debbie Dowie said: “I am absolutely delighted to be part of this amazing evening.”  In her talk to the audience of students and their parents, she recalled how, as an A level student herself, she had helped out on the Marie Rose project in Portsmouth.  She recalled how in 2009 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and how, since then, she has set up her own charity Boot Out Breast Cancer which is run by volunteers and seeks to buy diagnostic equipment for hospitals; Wigan Royal Infirmary recently received £85,000 from her charity. She left the students with this message: “You really can make a difference. It is difficult but every hour counts.”

A thoughts tree, “Get Hooked on Volunteering”, allowed students to write on leaves, commenting on their experience. The Year 12 students had certainly had a very positive time, with one quote saying: “Volunteering has helped me communicate better with others and has helped my time management as well as having been fun!” and another one enthusing that “Volunteering has been a really fun experience that has allowed me to make many great friends.”

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Debbie Dowie hands out awards to Waqqas Patel and Hayley Wilding

Debbie Dowie hands out awards to Waqqas Patel and Hayley Wilding

The evening celebrated the great community work that has been undertaken over the course of the academic year

The evening celebrated the great community work that has been undertaken over the course of the academic year

Sixth Form students spoke about their experiences to an audience of peers, staff and parents in the Arts & Conference Centre