Caring for the carers

RIPON Grammar School sixth form students enjoyed putting on a fun-filled afternoon tea party with live entertainment to give local carers a break from their normal routine.

Around 30 volunteers rallied round to serve sandwiches, sausage rolls, cakes, buns and scones with strawberries and cream, and enjoyed spending time talking with their guests.

Sixth form singers performed a series of popular songs, including Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Goodnight, Sweetheart.

Organised as part of sixth form’s Plus One enrichment programme, students said they enjoyed themselves just much as their visitors and gained a lot from the experience.

Working alongside the Carers' Resource charity, students – who also hosted a raffle at the event - aim to host such an event every half term.

Boarding student Michaela Joyce, from Zimbabwe, said she enjoyed lots of interesting conversations: “They are lovely people and it was such an amazing atmosphere.”

Kareem Said, who announced the raffle, described it as a memorable and fulfilling event, where students all played a role: "Some guided guests safely to the sixth form centre, others sat and chatted with guests, served food and drink, or sang and played music . All together, it was a great way of giving back to the community.

"It was amazing how everyone left with a smile and how everyone, including those who volunteered, took something back home from this event."

Carers’ Time Off (CTO) coordinator Naomi Evans said: “A huge thank you to the sixth formers for organising the event. The school and its pupils have gained a fantastic, well deserved reputation.

“It really was a lovely opportunity to bring the community together and to do something special for the carers and their loved ones. For those who suffer from loneliness and isolation, this is exactly what they needed.

“I know this because when I visit clients in their homes, they either talk about the event fondly, months later, or ask when the next one will be.

The latest event meant so much to all who attended and there has been lots of positive feedback.

“This has included – ‘It was so lovely to see everyone’, ‘The pupils are so kind and so friendly and we really enjoyed them sitting at our table’, ‘The choir sang beautifully and brought a tear to my eye’, ‘I really enjoyed chatting to the pupils’, ‘It was such a treat to have someone make lunch for us’.

CTO manager Dawn Tesseyman agreed: “What a wonderful afternoon it has been for our carers and their loved ones ahead of Carers’ Week. Everyone was very grateful.

“A sincere and massive well done and thank you to all the young people and to deputy head of sixth form, Helen Nelson, who helped organise the event. A thank you to the CTO charity volunteers who came too.

“Everyone involved should feel so proud.”