Students’ big shop for food bank

Enterprising students have been learning about the positive impact they can have on their local community, raising money to buy groceries for the local food bank.

For the young people it was not just a chance to do something for a good cause but also offered the chance to develop valuable life skills.

Part of the Positive Pathway programme at The Skills Academy in Billingham, the academy’s alternative provision manager Tracey Laycock said: “We wanted to encourage the students to come up with their own fundraising ideas and they decided what they wanted to do with the money.

“They could have raised money for a treat for themselves but instead they chose to support a local charity and given the current circumstances and the impact of Covid 19, they chose the food bank in an effort to help families who are struggling.”

Delivered in partnership with schools, The Skills Academy’s Positive Pathway offers an alternative study programme for young people aged 14 to 15 who had previously been at risk of permanent exclusion.

Covering a variety of core curriculum subjects including English and maths, the bespoke course also incorporates vocational elements as well as life skills such as enterprise.

Tracey said: “It’s all about helping the young person to achieve and progress to a positive next step.”

By organising a series of activities including a car wash, sweet sales and making and selling Christmas decorations, the students were able to hand over a bundle of essential groceries to the Billingham & Stockton Borough Food Bank.

Tracey added: “We are extremely proud of the learners and the staff who really helped to get behind this project. The students really thought about the impact that the pandemic is having on families and, for us, the skills that they learnt and developed are just as important as the end result.”

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