Schools recognised for their outstanding community partnerships

Last week we announced Amersham School and their community partners The Pauline Quirke Academy as the winners of our inaugural Open Your Space Awards.  The school are to be awarded a cash prize of £8,000 in recognition of their partnership with the local performing arts academy.

SLS Managing Director and Judge of this years awards, Paul Andrews, was given the difficult task of selecting the winner from our five shortlisted nominees whose partnerships you can read about below:

Forge Valley School in Sheffield – nominated by Jo Hardwick, Vice Captain, Hallam Hell Cats

I am vice-captain for the Hallam Hellcats Roller Derby team.  We started the club in 2012 and since then our members have gone onto win several awards. We’re determined to be the best, play competitively and have a blast along the way, and Forge Valley School provides us with the perfect environment to do this.

The School has always gone the extra mile to make us feel welcome and the staff are always incredibly friendly and accommodating. They host a number of training sessions on the School’s site throughout the week for both our team and Sheffield’s mens team – The Inhuman League.  This year Forge Valley School demonstrated its commitment to us by putting down a permanent roller track, all at no additional cost.  It has meant that we have been able to deliver more effective and progressive training sessions for local people. This gesture is indicative of the School’s dedication not only to the clubs that want to hire its facilities, but to its engagement with the local community.

Vale of York Academy in York – nominated by Rob Orr, Community Coordinator, Vale of York Academy

At the Vale of York Academy, we like to think that our initials could stand for the Value of Youth! We have a fantastic team of young student leaders from Key Stage 4, who give up a large proportion of their time to give something back to their community. We hold events at the school such as sports days for the local primary school children so that they are comfortable and familiar with the school, through to parties and concerts for elderly local residents.

We recently held an Active Community Engagement Day, with local groups and services coming out to support our event. The kids enjoyed a whole range of activities, including dance classes and graffiti art with the aim of inspiring students to try new hobbies and engage with their local community. We also run an outreach programme which sees our kids go out into the local community.   Not only does this support our community, it gives the students involved a great sense of confidence.

Ashton Community Science College in Preston- nominated by Vikci Simpson, Secretary, Springfield FC

Springfield’s FC is a community club.  We have been offering grassroots football for all in a fun, safe, secure environment since 1948 and currently have teams competing in a range of leagues throughout Lancashire. Being able to hire Ashton Community Science College’s facilities has been a real lifeline for the local community where there is a severe lack of pitches and a high density of social housing.

Without access to the quality facilities provided by the School, it would be difficult to provide grassroots football to the local area.   The 3G all-weather pitch means that we never have to skip a practice due to bad weather.  Giving young people in our area access to sports has not only encouraged them to be healthy and active but has also kept them out of trouble. Football engages them in something proactive; helping them to cultivate healthy, social connections with other kids and improve their self-esteem. We’re so grateful to ACSC, it is a valuable contributor to our community.

Cheney School in Oxford – nominated by Dylan David, Soft-Services Manager, Cheney School

At Cheney School, local community engagement is really important to us.  This summer we were able to bring the whole community together on a scale we never thought possible.  We worked in partnership with Eid Extravaganza to host what was described as the biggest and best in Oxfordshire, with over 5000 people attending! It was a family fun day packed with lots of activities and stalls. We had a football tournament, a supercar surprise, a petting farm and falconry, zorbing and children’s rides, arts and crafts, rickshaw and pony rides, face painting, henna, market stalls, international food stalls and even a special Eid barbecue. It was really important to us that everyone in the local area was able to feel a part of the celebration so we offered free meal vouchers to homeless representatives.

Thank you to the over 100 schools and partnerships who entered the awards this year.  Watch out for details of 2019’s awards launching May 2019!