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Blue Coats Service Action Day

The Blue Coats Service Action Day was a chance for City Year UK and employees from our supporter National Grid to give back to the community by helping Blue Coat School to transform a place for the more vulnerable students. This special place is an area that is used during breaks, lunches, before and after school by a range of unique characters with a varying range of needs. This special place is where students share their joys, their worries, their jokes (sometimes terrible) and even their hopes. This special place is called The Hub, where staff highlight inclusion and deem it incredibly important.

We all believed that the environment we are in will have an effect on how we are feeling. Imagine being in a dark, cold room that lacked any colour and character, you might not want to share your personal concerns with someone like you might do in a vibrant, warm and comfortable space. This is why The Hub needed the makeover, it was for the students who use the space so they feel comfortable and safe being there.

Volunteer mentor painting at a school

The day involved getting last minute preparations sorted before the National Grid employees came and when they did, the vibe instantly changed. There were four volunteer mentors including me on the day and we each had a group of National Grid employees to direct in our own stations. We felt ready to work and the turnout of all 60 National Grid employees made some of the students –maybe for the first time- feel like they are cared about, they are being thought about and they are having something positive done for them. One student came in whilst we were freshening the walls with white paint and started to cry because she saw that all of us had come together to transform a space that is very personal to her. That drove us even more to make sure we delivered the quality of the makeover that we set out to.

In the afternoon the same level of energy continued when our very own West Midlands cohort came in to finish off the transformation. The cohort got split up into teams like National Grid and we danced our way to the end with some good tunes and good entertainment – special shout out to our Impact Officer Elin for showing us her moves! All of the teams got on really well and we managed to complete everything we wanted to.

Group of volunteer mentors

When we came in on Monday, we received a lot of positive feedback which made us feel as though our hard work paid off. They love our ‘Welcome’ mural that we hand-painted at the entrance in different languages to make our students feel that we recognise their backgrounds and we welcome all individuals. Our calming underwater sea decoration theme was further decorated by the staff using jellyfish lava lamps, seashell fairy lights, ‘cloud’ lights and bean bags which really enhanced the overall look. The staff really do appreciate what we have done and mentioned that we really made a transformation not only to the building but also to the atmosphere of The Hub.

Group of volunteer mentors smiling on the floor of a school

I enjoyed having this opportunity with City Year UK and it truly reflects what we’re all about. We came together as a team, we cooperated with an external organisation and the school and produced something that the students would love. The students were at the very heart of the day and we are so pleased that they like what we have done.

Amanpreet proudly serves on Team Freedom at Blue Coat School.

Read more about our wider commitment to social action here.

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