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For the third summer running pupils from St John’s welcomed 20 children with a range of special needs to enjoy the annual ‘St John’s School Community Holiday’.
Between Saturday 20 and Saturday 27 August, volunteers hosted the children in the School’s boarding houses, and entertained them with a week of day trips, in house activities and games. The week included trips to Littlehampton beach, Polesden Lacy and Hobbledown Farm as well as sailing at Thames Young Mariners, climbing at High Ashurst, a day out at Chessington World of Adventures and a trip to London’s West End for a matinee performance of Matilda.
The St John’s School Community Holiday is led by the School’s Head of History, Neil Whitmore, and staffed by volunteers primarily made up of St John’s Sixth Form pupils and recent leavers, with an experienced team of older volunteers on hand to support.
Volunteers offer all children round the clock, one-to-one support, as well as making sure that they are having as much fun as possible throughout the week, offering families valuable respite care in the summer holidays. Over the three years since it started, St John’s School Community Holiday has proved incredibly popular, with a large percentage of the children returning year on year and making the holiday an annual fixture in their summer plans.
Funding for the holiday has been significantly boosted by fundraising efforts throughout the year by a large number of pupils and staff, which have included a mass sleep out on the School’s Quad. Many parents of pupils at the School have also contributed generously towards the holiday by attending and organising fundraising events.
Headmaster of St John’s School, Martin Collier, commented: “I’m delighted that the 2016 St John’s School Community Holiday was such a success. All credit must go to Neil Whitmore and his team for making sure the children had such a fantastic time.
“This holiday has quickly grown to become a massive asset to the School. In addition to the brilliant week’s holiday it offers the children, it also gives our current and some former pupils the opportunity to develop their skills in a number of areas, from offering round the clock care for another person to the leadership skills required as they become more experienced. Equally, it is a fantastic means for St John’s School to make a positive contribution to the local community, which we are very proud to do.”
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