Four years on from London 2012, young people across the UK are harnessing the power of the Olympic and Paralympic movements, turning inspiration into action within their local communities.
Over 500 community projects have taken place across the UK in the run up to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games showcasing the work of more than 18,500 young people ‘Action Leads’ aged 14 to 19 who are working to make their communities better and healthier places to live.
It’s all part of Get Set for Community Action, 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.
Students from De La Salle were one of six teams to recently take centre stage at the renowned Podium venue at the Olympic Park to celebrate how Get Set for Community Action has changed their lives over this past year.
De La Salle worked alongside Age UK Merseyside on a variety of projects, initially by giving out ‘winter warm packs’ to elderly residents at St Mary’s Market and St Mary’s social club in Billinge.
These packs provide elderly people with recipes, hot chocolate sachets, gloves, hats, socks, a torch and other items to help them keep warm over the winter months.
The pupils enjoyed working with Age UK so much, they then held a hot dog sale in school to raise money to put on a coffee morning for the elderly at their Age UK Headquarters, The Mansion House.
The pupils and elderly enjoyed talking together during this event, getting to know each other and playing games such as dominoes.
The pupils noticed that the kitchen garden at The Mansion House was overgrown, so planned another ongoing project to weed an area and plant vegetables, which could then be used to make some of the recipes from the warm packs.
Over 450 schools and youth groups have delivered 500 community projects and reached more than 50,000 members of their local communities.
The young people organised a range of activities which included Brazilian food tasting with the elderly in Glasgow, a Rio-themed games night with adults with disabilities in Carrickfergus and tackling the regeneration of green spaces at Chelmer Valley local nature reserve. The GSFCA initiative will run until November 2016.
Claire Bullock, lead teacher of the projects, said: “Working alongside the elderly has given the pupils a different perspective on life.
“They have improved their communication skills, talking and sharing activities with the elderly, and I have seen the pupils grow in confidence. They have thoroughly enjoyed their projects and are already planning their next ones.”