OCVA are working in collaboration with Volunteer Link-up as part of an innovative partnership with Bartholomew School in Eynsham. The pilot project, which goes by the name of M.A.D. (Make a Difference) Week, involves 60 of the schools’ Year 12 students. The students will be spending the week beginning 10th July with a local charity, community group or social enterprise on placements which have been designed to be empowering. 10 organisations in West Oxfordshire are part of the pilot which aims to build lasting connections between students and members of their local community and a commitment from students to organisations that will extend beyond the week itself.
The students have played an active role in selecting the organisation they would like to volunteer for in July. All students attended an information event at school in which they heard from all 10 organisations as part of a mass speed dating activity. The students listened to a 5-minute pitch from each organisation and subsequently recorded their preferences. The students have now met with their chosen charity in an initial planning session in school. This was an opportunity for groups and students to get to know one another, identify strengths and areas for development and generate ideas for the week.
During MAD Week the students will be given responsibility for undertaking research, running events and engaging service users; enabling them to develop the core competencies and soft skills demanded in an increasingly competitive job market; whilst their energy and fresh perspective will help charities to reach a younger audience and encourage them to reflect on their current ways of working. We believe this to be the first week of its kind in Oxfordshire and are excited about the potential to develop this model in future years – working with other Oxfordshire schools and charities to make an even bigger difference in the county.
OCVA will be working with a team of 6 students for the week whose role is to capture the activity as it unfolds. The students will be developing their own website and Facebook page, appearing on BBC Radio Oxford, writing press releases and producing a short film to showcase the highlights from the week. Links to material produced by the student reporters will be made available from this page in the build up to and during MAD Week. If you are a school or community group with questions about the organisation of MAD Week and plans for its development in Oxfordshire in the future, please contact Emily Shaw (Volunteer Centre Co-ordinator) on 01865 251946 / firstname.lastname@example.org