Year 6 children from Boxgrove Primary School, Guildford, tell us about how they tackled the issue of homelessness in their local area.
We found out that homelessness can happen to anyone at any time so when someone is homeless it’s often not their fault. We asked how we could help and the charities suggested that we gather items like pot noodles, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, travel mugs, water bottles and warm clothes.
It was a bit tricky to choose the issue we were going to address because we had so many ideas! So we did a ballot and homelessness came out as the top issue which we were really excited about because we were super keen to help change this issue. We decided to look into the issue a bit more so we looked on the internet and called local homeless charities, like the Number 5 Project in Guildford. We’d never done anything like this before so we had to be really brave but we did it!
So we took these ideas and we worked together as a team to create an action plan that everyone agreed to – each person had a different and important role in the plan. We were so excited to be deciding every step of the project ourselves.
Then our planning had to stop because of lockdown and after we came back to school in September some of our group had gone to secondary school so we had to be even more determined to help because there were fewer of us and just as much to do!
To overcome the fact that we couldn’t have a whole school assembly we wrote an assembly which was recorded so the class bubbles could watch it individually. In this assembly we told people about our planned mufti day and asked them to bring in an item of food or clothing in ‘payment’ for wearing their own clothes. We also asked whether friends or relatives of people in school might knit a hat, a scarf or gloves that we could then donate as well.
We also plucked up the courage to call our local Waitrose supermarket to ask if they would donate travel mugs that could be used again and again. We were so surprised when they straight away said yes!
‘The best part was seeing how much we achieved and how surprised and grateful the charity were for our help’ – Year 6 pupil
We were overwhelmed by the response we had on mufti day – pupils brought so much food in that the charity had to do several trips when they came to pick it up! We really felt like we had made a difference to the lives of the homeless people in Guildford because they could now have something more to eat and feel a bit warmer. We also felt different ourselves – completing this project proved that we can be confident and that we can make a positive difference even when the issue seems so big.
‘I showed myself that I can do something I never thought I could do’ – Year 6 pupil