Volunteers assist with home schooling during lockdown
Older Friends with the Warwickshire based Friendship Project for Children are helping their Younger Friends with home schooling during lockdown.
Without the ability for their usual face to face outings, our Older and Younger friends are staying in contact using modern technology like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype and even the telephone. Through this contact our volunteer Older Friends are assisting their Younger Friends in many home learning activities. At a time when many parents are struggling to maintain the engagement with home schooling lessons, the Older Friends have added a new dimension being a different person to communicate with and providing many varied and fun types of learning. They have discussed the night sky, satellites and comets, been on guided museum tours together, practised learning the capitals of the world and read books to each other.
The art of letter writing has had a revival. With no face-to-face contact allowed, some of our Older and Younger Friends have been writing to each other and sending letters, cards and things to do in the post. A Younger Friend described her excitement when she was waiting for the post each morning to see if she had received anything, and now sees her Older Friend as a pen pal.
One Older Friend has been recording herself reading from The Book of Greek Myths and Wind in the Willows, sending videos via WhatsApp to her two Younger Friends. This has inspired her Younger Friends to do the same:
“I was so pleased when my Younger Friend recorded herself reading Gangsta Granny. Her reading has now increased to 20 pages a day. She is much more confident in her reading and she will now have a go at some of the trickier words. It has been a real pleasure to listen to her and she has improved tremendously in her confidence and fluency. This has been a real breakthrough and I encourage her with positive feedback.” Older Friend Volunteer commented.
Older Friends have helped their Younger Friends to get ‘green fingers’: vegetable and sunflower seeds have been sent through the post and they are using FaceTime for guidance on planting and watching the seeds grow. They have also worked on creative things together: baking, making friendship bracelets, creating mosaic tiles and pressing flowers. There have been many quiz’s, den making, games of hangman, tik tak toe, scavenger hunts and designing crazy golf courses!
The Friendship Project for Children operates throughout Warwickshire with the primary aim of helping children in need of some extra support. All children aged between 6 and 16 are referred to the charity through children’s social services and are then matched with an ‘Older Friend’ who takes them out and spends time with them for a few hours each week. In the current situation when so many people are in need of social contact and continuity, it is especially important that these friendships continue.
Since the charity started in 1986 it has supported over 1500 local children. The outstanding work of volunteers makes a huge difference within their community. There are many social reasons why children are in need of this kind of support, but experience has shown that a weekly visit by someone who cares makes a significant difference. The visit could be doing something as simple as a walking a dog or having a hot chocolate together; but could also include activities which the child would otherwise not get to experience, such as tenpin bowling, ice skating or horse riding.
For more information on The Friendship Project, please visit: www.friendshipproject.co.uk, @FriendshipProj or call 0845 838 2098.