A St Helens school pupil was granted the trip of a lifetime to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as he celebrated his hard work as part of the Get Set for Community Action programme.
Josh Taylor and fellow participants from De La Salle School have, for the past year, teamed up with Age UK Merseyside to deliver various projects across the area in a bid to strengthen intergenerational relations.
Hosting coffee mornings and handing out winter warm packs were just some of the things the school have been doing as part of the Get Set programme, rewarded as one of six leading schools with a trip to London on Wednesday.
The Get Set for Community Action programme saw more than 500 community projects take place across the UK in the run up to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games showcasing the work of more than 15,000 young people ‘Action Leads’ aged 14-19.
And, for 15-year-old Josh, a chance to be able to participate and lend a hand to those in need has been an inspiration for him, and now hopes that can be transferred to other pupils at the school.
"We've really enjoyed helping out elderly people, it's been a nice project to do alongside my friends, and it we really nice to get lovely feedback from it,” he said.
"It started a year ago, it's been a long project and it's been really enjoyable to meet new people, and it has given me a lot of new skills which I can hopefully take forward.
"I love the Olympic Stadium, I'm a cycling fan so watched lots of Jason Kenny and Laura Trott winning their gold medals which was a great experience, and I never thought I’d be able to go there.”
Get Set for Community Action is a year-long UK-wide programme created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association, made possible thanks to a £2.1m award from the Big Lottery Fund.
For manager of inclusion at the school, Claire Bullock, there was a huge amount of pride in seeing the hard work come to fruition for the students.
“The intergenerational contact has been fantastic, they’ve done so many different projects and their social skills have been brilliant,” she said.
“They’ve learnt a huge amount, people wrote letters thanking them for their work and now they’re looking to do more and more projects based on what they’ve already done.”
On hand for the celebrations were former sprinter Christian Malcolm as well as Dan Norton and James Rodwell, Olympic silver medallists with the Great Britain rugby sevens team in Rio.
“It was great to go around and see the different groups from all over the country and how they’ve supported the community, with a chance for us to share our Olympic stories,” said Norton.
“It brings everyone together. If it wasn’t for volunteers then we wouldn’t have been Olympic silver medallists, so we’re really grateful for them and it’s fantastic to see programmes like Get Set to carry that on.
“The Action Leads will be able to take a huge amount of skills from it, suitable for any role they go into, and their work ethic and enthusiasm will help them get to their end goal.”
Get Set for Community Action is a new UK-wide programme for young people and their communities created by the British Olympic Foundation and British Paralympic Association and made possible thanks to the Big Lottery Fund.
To find out more visit: www.getsetaction.org.uk