The Eton College Community Engagement (ECCE) programme of volunteering for Year 12 has been very active during the 2021/22 school year, involving about 160 pupils who are each allocated to one of 30 different placement activities. These have included charity shops, local schools (primary, middle, and secondary), and a range of other organisations such as care homes, libraries and cultural centres, Slough Mencap, Swan Lifeline, and the Eton Tourist Information Centre.
ECCE pupils have also helped the College Collections team with school visits to our museums and the team at Dorney Lake with teaching rowing. A new activity this year was the creation of a team of pupils to assist with environmental and biodiversity enhancement of our school grounds and to develop materials for teaching children about environmental sustainability.
Other activities included the delivery of Christmas goodie bags to senior citizens at almost 90 different addresses in the local area. Pupils handwrote Christmas cards (designed by an artist in Year 13) to go with the goodie bags. This was much appreciated by the recipients of the gifts, especially considering the atrocious weather at the time.
More recent initiatives include supporting Slough Mencap in their 70th anniversary year through a fundraising drive, and developing our partnership with Eduspots, an educational charity that connects students in Ghana with students in the UK through online courses and educational collaboration. Three of our pupils earned distinctions on the Eduspots courses, and another three have joined the Eduspots team as student volunteers.
In May, a group of Year 9 pupils collaborated with children from Eton Porny School to create artwork celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee that was displayed on the High Street by the Eton Tourist Centre.
Here are some thoughts from those involved with our community engagement programme, and from our partner organisations, to give a flavour of how valuable and rewarding the programme has been:
My communication and people skills have greatly improved, as I was thrust into an environment which forced me to help and communicate with strangers. Library placement
I gained a lot of patience, understanding of the most effective methods of teaching, empathy for my mentee, and practical skills as I improved my maths alongside him. Maths mentoring
All the boys are helpful, brilliant and when asked to do a task they are always happy to do things straight away. Charity shop Manager
The boys have been a credit to Eton and please pass on my thanks and best wishes. Primary school Teacher