Southend-on-Sea School Students Lend a Helping Hand at Local Physical Rehabilitation Centre

A specialist physical rehabilitation and reablement centre in Westcliff-On-Sea, Essex, has recently welcomed kind-hearted students from a local school to volunteer and spend time with patients.

Uplands Rehabilitation Centre, a state-of-the-art facility which provides short stay, therapy led rehabilitation for individuals suffering from brain or physical injuries, has welcomed two students, aged 14, from Thorpe Hall School.

As a part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE), over the last month, the students and residents have been spending quality time together every other week, from drawing to competitive games of Jenga.

During this short space of time, staff at Uplands have already noticed a positive atmosphere in the centre, with lots of laughter and fun amongst the children and residents.

Sharon Bales, Registered Manager at Uplands Rehabilitation Centre said:
“I think it is so important for children at a young age to understand older people, individuals with illnesses or to even speak with people who have a disability.

“Children aren’t always given the chance to interact with individuals who suffer from different illnesses, so once we were approached by the students if they could conduct their Duke of Edinburgh volunteering here, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for the centre to be involved within.

“Our patients love meeting new people, so it has been an absolute joy having the children visit. We thoroughly encourage any other young children looking to volunteer or conduct work experience, to get in touch with our friendly staff today.”

One resident who spent a lot of time with the students said she enjoyed the children’s visits as they were funny and good to chat to and that it was a nice break from the norm each week.

As the world’s leading youth achievement award for 14–24-year-olds, new statistics have revealed that a record-breaking 321,622 young people started their DofE in 2021/2022 – the highest in its 66-year history.

One of the students that took part in the volunteering project said: “We have very much enjoyed our time at Uplands. It has all been about support in social time, using socialising and communication to help all of us. During our time visiting, we feel our own communication has improved too.”

Amanda Abercrombie-Smith, head of drama and Duke of Edinburgh Award Manager at Thorpe Hall School commented:
“I have been delighted that two of our students volunteered at Uplands. These lads are usually reserved students, who find comfort in the familiar. However, they have found courage and confidence in their time at Uplands, and I hope their growth has supported the growth of those at Uplands too. I feel their time has grounded and humbled them, and I hope this experience has fostered an interest in giving back to the community and prompted a desire to support those around them more than before.

“The Duke of Edinburgh Award, at any level, by its very nature is challenging, hence its prestige. Nevertheless, these two individuals have been a good example of what can be achieved, new skills that are developed, and new opportunities discovered. The Award aims to develop teamwork, effective communication, and other skills for life, whilst challenging personal boundaries. Part of the Award entails completing 3 activities: a skill, a physical and a volunteering activity, each for a minimum of 3 months. Then, it culminates in an expedition.”

 

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