Despite beginning during the pandemic, Castlebrae High School Volunteering Programme has seen some fantastic results for students involved. Through the project, we empower pupils at the school to take on a volunteering role in the local community. Our Engagement Manager Caitlin sources rewarding, personalised placements, where the students can develop their confidence and soft skills. She then supports them to take part by identifying and helping to remove barriers, and helping them on the path to achieving future goals.
‘I spent time discussing individual’s future aspirations, supporting (and signposting) when mental health challenges arose, helped pupils build resilience and manage emotions.. This was done over the course of a few weeks for each cohort each term. We discussed future plans, goals for the year, strengths and skills they already possess and also skills they wanted to improve on. We talked about volunteering and the sorts of placements that interested them. From here, I got to work organising tailored volunteering opportunities for the pupils.’
Here is a snapshot of the impact we had during 2021 and 2022.
Our pupils committed 234 hours of their time volunteering, and each pupil was presented with a Saltire Award for their dedication to the volunteering placements offered to them. 5 charity partners across Edinburgh benefited from our pupil volunteers, with 16 charities in total signing up for the chance to work with us in the future. This allows us to offer a wider selection of volunteering opportunities in the future.
Many of the young people felt they improved their soft skills, with 82% saying they had increased confidence, and 73% saying they felt they had better communication skills. One of the students added:
“I would recommend volunteering to anyone who needs to build experience. My advice would be for anyone with anxiety about getting a job to do it as it’s easier than you think it’s going to be, I thought I’d never manage it and would fail but I have been successful.”
We are excited to be continuing our work with Castlebrae through to 2023, thanks to the support of Walter Scott. If you’d like to hear more about the project or see if ProjectScotland can partner with your school, get in touch with Caitlin.email@example.com.