School can be an incredibly difficult time, with social and academic pressures often weighing on pupils’ minds.

When a group of pupils from Heathfield Community School opted to join The Prince’s Trust’s Achieve programme, they discovered a new enthusiasm for learning and worked together to make a real difference in their local community.   

All aged 14 or 15 years old, the pupils had different support needs and many had poor attendance records. They needed an opportunity to boost their confidence that would help them to realise their full potential.  

The pupils joined the Achieve programme to work towards a qualification in personal development and employability skills. As part of this, they were tasked with leading a community project.  

It makes you focus on more important stuff, like school and school work. I’m more focussed now on the important things in school, like getting my GCSEs.” 

The group raised money by selling vegetables they’d grown on school grounds and then used this to run a series of bingo nights. Each event raised around £1000. They went on to spend this money on entertaining the 54 residents of Moorhaven Care Home.  

At Christmas, the young people bought each resident a Christmas present and took seven residents to have Christmas dinner. They understood the importance of bringing some festive joy to the elderly residents, some of who may not have anyone else to spend their time with. In the warmer months, they took another ten residents out for afternoon tea as well as for fish and chips at the beach.

It’s the part of the course which has helped me the most, because it showed me that I have a voice. Hearing the residents’ stories have made me more intrigued to start my own life.”

As well as supporting the community, the young people have improved their own skills and confidence in just one year. Their mental wellbeing is improved, they are motivated to help themselves and others, and their academic achievement and attendance has improved greatly.  

As they prepare to sit their GCSEs, each young person feels more confident and motivated to do well in their exams. 

Y10 Achieve Club are our National Dell Technologies Community Impact Award winners 2020. This award recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.