Ashville College opens doors to elderly residents

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Student volunteers from Ashville College have opened the doors to their school’s Memorial Hall to assist a Harrogate charity’s work with older people.

The Year 11 and Sixth Form pupils – who spend Wednesday afternoons giving their time to various charities and organisations, including Berwick Grange Care Home and Harrogate Skills for Life - hosted an afternoon tea for members of the Harrogate Easier Living Project’s (HELP) Opening Doors initiative.

Opening Doors was established to help older and vulnerable people, and those living with disability or sensory impairment, to retain their independence.

HELP does this by enabling clients to get out and about and enjoy social and leisure activities with the assistance of a volunteer.

Thirty-two Opening Doors members and volunteers spent an afternoon at the College, where they were served sandwiches, cakes and cups of tea by the young volunteers.

A gift was given to each guest at the end of the afternoon, paid for by Year 7 pupils who took part in the Smarties Tube Challenge, where 20p pieces are used to fill the sweets’ cardboard container.

In addition to chatting to the pupils, the older guests were treated to music and dance from Ashville senior school pupils.

Cathy Price, Ashville’s volunteer co-ordinator, said: “We actively encourage our senior students to undertake volunteering activities, and the afternoon tea was an extension of that. It was a pleasure partnering with Harrogate ELP.”

She added: “The pupils really enjoyed speaking to the older visitors and learning about their lives and backgrounds. I hope this will be the first of many such occasions where we play our part in supporting the wider community.”

Lizzie Hughes from HELP, said: “I’d like to thank Ashville College, and in particular Catherine Frieze, Ashville’s Assistant Chaplain and event organiser, and all the students who helped to make this afternoon a really wonderful occasion.

“Encouraging youngsters to take on volunteering roles is to be commended. It’s great to see Ashville College making volunteering part of their curriculum, and I was very impressed at the way the pupils interacted with our members.”