July 08, 2016
On Friday 8th July, St. Francis’ Children’s Society (SFCS) was delighted to welcome Milton Keynes Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Steve Coventry and Ms Liane Lacey, to its Family Centre. The Mayor and Mayoress were there to formally open the new Family Centre Garden, which was completed by a team of young people and volunteers.
The project was masterminded by Debbie Greaves of Get Involved Volunteering (GIV). GIV is an independent charitable organisation which works with schools to encourage KS3 students to experience supported volunteering in their own community. They particularly seek to attract disadvantaged and vulnerable young people, and support them in their volunteering journey by offering 6th Form students an opportunity to work alongside the young people as fully trained mentors.
Over the course of an academic year, GIV build the relationship between the young people and mentors by taking part in a variety of team building activities. The final outcome is a community project – this year the team have created a new Family Centre garden for SFCS.
Students from Ousedale School and Shenley Brook End School have been working on the garden with professional landscape gardeners Cherrypip Garden Design, Olney, with support from teachers and other volunteers. The work has been supported by the MK Community Foundation, and they have received donations of plants and other outdoor equipment from Homebase, Milton Keynes and Odells in Stony Stratford.
Debbie Greaves of GIV said, “In terms of impact there are three beneficiaries from this project. Volunteering helps young people develop self-confidence and personal pride, so they particularly benefit from being involved. Secondly, the 6th form mentors receive quality training and an opportunity to take part in extra-curricular experiences that enrich their CV. And the final beneficiaries are the charitable organisations that we work with, such as SFCS, where we hope the project will have a real and lasting impact.”
Alison Miller, CEO of SFCS said, “We’re delighted with the fantastic job the students
have done in the Family Centre garden. As an adoption agency, SFCS does a lot of work with vulnerable children and their families. The Family Centre provides a warm, inviting space for therapeutic work to take place and this new garden will be an invaluable addition to the Centre. We look forward to sharing the garden with everyone who uses the building very soon.”