Bluecoat Beechdale Academy extends its ‘sanctuary’ to Year 10 work experience
Seven of our Year 10 BBA students have had the privilege to be working alongside the founder of the Mesopotamia charity shop some of her trusted volunteers based in Old Basford. This initiative forms part of the Year 10s work placements which traditionally take place every year in March and is one of a string of initiatives underlining how important it is for us to stand strong as a School of Sanctuary.
Our BBA students had already experienced what it means to work alongside this charitable organisation when last year a large cohort of year 7s used their enrichment time and year 10s their Duke of Edinburgh school based activity time: this time was invested in ‘The Moses Basket’ project and the organisation of a ‘Christmas Delivery’ to needy families both at home and within refugee camps. This all formed part of raising student awareness on Refugees and Asylum seekers, but also allowing them reflection time and hands on experience in providing bespoke help to local and the wider community.
This time, for our small cohort of year 10s, the experience organised by Ms Miller (founder of the charity) was much more bespoke to our individual students, inviting each of them to bring something from their own initiative and flair to improve or organise an aspect of the shop work. For example, one aspect of their work focused on the food bank sponsored by Co-Op. This translated into the students working as a team to handle a budget of £500 to decide how to best spend and promote the cause while reaching the most vulnerable in our community.
Two members of staff, the School of Sanctuary Lead and the Year 10 Leader dedicated time on-site to share what the students had achieved, and took this as an opportunity to celebrate their commitment through the week. Cake and conversation were at the top of the agenda and the two BBA staff members discovered some of the practical highlights that the work placement had allowed our children to experience: organisation of the food bank storage; sorting of and allocation of donations; distribution and collection of donations; operating the till while serving customers as well as providing ideas for the window display. Above all, each of the students seemed very much settled in their working environment and keen to share the importance of their contributions and learning experience within a context which offers a lifeline to many. Plans are already being made for some of them to volunteer at Mesopotamia in the future. Their solidarity to the community in the BBA way – through being positive, curious, resilient and kind – was a joy to witness.