5 July 2018
In the hottest week of the year twenty-five girls from St Swithun’s School, Winchester, volunteered their time to help re-launch UNIT 12, a community centre in Winnall offering activities and services for local residents. This marked St Swithun’s inaugural community service week for Year 11 girls who have just finished their GCSE’s and was part of a three-day social action project organised by Community First Volunteer Service to promote UNIT 12, a recently established facility to provide activities for 7-18 year olds and semi-retired and retired residents of Winchester. The building on Winnall Valley Road has been completely transformed in the last year with a café, activity rooms, dance studios, a meeting room, and a spacious garden with BBQ facility.
Louise Todino, Director at UNIT 12, said “I have thoroughly enjoyed working in partnership with Community First and St Swithun’s to open our doors to the public to see what we do here. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all 25 girls from St Swithun’s who have given up their precious time to help out with the activities for the launch. They have been absolutely amazing, have shown great initiative and their enthusiasm was infectious; they are a real credit to St Swithun’s School. I would like to thank Community First for their help facilitating this event and Tesco and Homebase for their support”.
Activities over the three days included pamper sessions, first aid training, walking football, gardening, yoga, table tennis, social media training and music workshops all taking place around a community café. Amongst the highlights over the three days were visits from Winnall Primary school children where three different year groups took part in a music and dance workshop. Robin Williams, local resident and parent of Daisy from Year 3 said “I’ve enjoyed spending time with my daughter, Daisy, at UNIT 12 today. It’s great that they are trying to bring together different sections of the community to find out what’s going on at the Centre”.
Phoebe Shannon, St Swithun’s student, says “Over the three days I have really enjoyed the inter-generational dance workshop with pupils and parents from Winnall Primary School and transforming the garden into a more usable space with its own vegetable patch. Having just finished my GCSE’s it has been really great to use this time to give something back to the community and would recommend any young people to volunteer”. Simon Mayes, Head of Outreach and Partnerships at St Swithun’s added “St Swithun’s has always had strong links with the local community and we hope that our involvement with UNIT 12 will be a long-term commitment to support an important local facility in addition to giving our pupils the opportunity to develop valuable skills such as leadership, commitment and resilience.”
The launch event culminated with a barbeque attended by The Mayor of Winchester and other dignitaries. UNIT 12 are excited about the activities programme that they are running for young people over the summer holidays and the new classes available for the over 60’s. For more information and to volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For a list of volunteering opportunities at UNIT 12 and the surrounding areas go to www.volunteerwessex.org