Each week, a small group of older volunteers come together to spend a lunch time session in school with younger people. Together they share lunch and chat about their week and then take part in a range of extra-curricular activities – art, board games and cookery.
Each group is run by a facilitator, who organises the activities and ensures that the group runs smoothly. But it’s all about fun and friendship at the sessions and by spending time together, the older volunteers are able to pass on their skills and life experiences.
Children and young people benefit from the care and attention of new friends. By getting to know each other, each group builds up mutual understanding and respect.
Children and young people are selected by their teachers because they would particularly benefit from the nurturing relationships that develop with volunteers. Some children may be experiencing difficulty with settling into school and developing new relationships, others may have recently arrived in the country and be struggling with English as a new language and some come from families experiencing stress.
The nurturing nature of Full Circle supports them with social, emotional and behavioural needs and during their time in the group, the children and young people grow in confidence. The fun environment creates opportunities for them to learn and build new skills – resilience, grit, optimism and motivation for example. They are also forming new relationships across the generations and are learning about mixing with people from other parts of their community. As they grow in confidence, they are often able to play a more positive and confident role in the classroom.
Volunteers benefit from Full Circle for all sorts of reasons. For some volunteers, it is simply that they enjoy being with children. Sometimes, this is particularly special as they have little contact with their own grandchildren or if they have no grandchildren.
Full Circle is a way of meeting other adults, having a coffee and a catch-up and keeping busy and active. Many strong friendships develop among the adults, as well as the younger people. This can be particularly helpful if people are feeling lonely or have been through a difficult time.
Regardless of the reasons for becoming involved, there is no doubt that the volunteers are Full Circle’s greatest asset!
“It has given me the opportunity to ‘catch-up’ with life as seen by much younger eyes.”
“I have gained confidence and new skills as well as friendship and enjoyment.”
“It lifts my mood. I come in for an hour and go away feeling brighter.” Pat
“We are passing on our experiences and doing something that gives us pleasure and children pleasure at the same time.” Sue
“Older people working with youngsters has an impact far beyond the immediate. The experiences brought by our older volunteers are a great resource for children who might have no other access to such wisdom.”
Schools Partnered With Full Circle
Windmill Primary School
Wood Farm Primary School
Deddington Primary School
Pegasus Primary School
Aston Rowant Primary School
North Oxfordshire Academy
Longfields Primary School
The Oxford Academy
St Francis Primary School
Faringdon Infant School
Millbrook Primary School
Aston and Cote Primary School
St Andrew’s Primary School
Wood Green Secondary School
John Henry Newman Academy
Garsington Primary School
Dr Radcliffe’s Primary School
Bloxham Primary School
Harwell Primary School
East Oxford Primary School
Barley Hill Primary School
Tyndale Community School