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Community Engagement with the SMILE £10 Challenge

The Windmills Foundation – the charity that Windmills has supported in its first two years of operation by giving 10% of its pre-tax profits – has as its aim of supporting young people to fulfil their potential and make their unique difference.

For three years the Foundation has supported the development of the Smile £10 Challenge which in 2013 was rolled out across Sefton engaging over 35 Primary Schools to make a difference in their local communities

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Issue

The Windmills Foundation’s (click here to find out more about the work of the foundation) main object is to provide support and activities which develop the skills, capabilities and capacities of young people to advance in life and participate in society as mature and responsible individuals. To make this real in our local community, over the last three years we have engaged an increasing number of primary, and secondary schools along with community based organisation in the Smile £10 Challenge.

Solution

Focused on working with year 6 children (aged 10/11) in teams of 5/6 pupils, a challenge is put to them that in a matter of a few months they should use their combined skills, talents and relationships couple with a donation of £10 from the Foundation, to make the world a better place by creating a sustainable difference in their wider community. The only rule is they cannot give £10 away – they must develop a project to make others SMILE.

Sharing my skills and talents with those of the group and others
Doing this in a way which is meaningful and really excites and motives me
Designed to have an impact on my local community by responding to a particular issue or topic that is important for the people who live there
Thinking beyond the project to make sure it leaves a lasting legacy
and benefits everyone
Click here to download a pdf summarising the SMILE £10 Challenge

Training a key member of staff from each school, the Foundation developed a pack which provided all the detail needed to implement the challenge within the school.
Year 6 children engaged in a number of activities from the Windmills portfolio (click here to find out more) that also enabled them to explore a three thinking approach to the challenge.

 

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(Click here to find out more about the three thinking approach)
Over the subsequent weeks the schools provided time for the Y6 pupils to engage in a range of projects that would enable the pupils to utilise their skills, for a need in their community where they could make a difference and leave a legacy – of course making everyone smile in the process.

Impact

On April 17th this year we held a celebration event with 35 schools present and each school showcasing their specific projects…

Click on our flickr account to see the pictures of the day.:

Take a look at You Tube to see what the young people on the day thought of the event – (Lynne put the link to you tube but only when we have the amended version of the footage)

The key messages from the day and the challenge from the young people were….

  • Fun
  • Exciting
  • Made a difference
  • Scary sometimes
  • Tried new things
  • Met new people
  • Creative
  • Enjoyed the challenge
  • Hard work
  • Something different
  • Valued what I have
  • Felt a good thing to do
  • Made connections in my community I’d not done before
  • We decided what to do – someone didn’t tell us

 

What the Children said….

98% of those children involved in the challenge said that they had had the chance to improve their skills and talents and to share them with others

“I’ve never discussed my talents before”

“A good chance to show the real me.”

“It has made a big difference to me to be a bit more chatty”

99% of the children said that they had got involved in the challenge in a meaningful and exciting way and felt motivated by it

 “The challenge was exciting and helped us to realise how fortunate we are”

“The most amazing thing I have ever done, we made people look on the brighter side of life”

95% of the children said that they felt their project had achieved an impact on their local community and the people in it

“I think it has made the community happier and given a great impression of our school.”

“The most amazing thing I have ever done, we made people look on the brighter side of life.”

92% of the young people felt that their project had built in a legacy element that would ensure the impact was maintained over a longer period of time

“It made me think that I should appreciate what I have and I’ve experienced the feeling that you get when you make people smile”

“I am looking forward to helping more people and giving something back to my community.”

What the Teachers said….

100% of the teachers said that the children had had the chance to develop their skills and talents and to share them with others in a meaningful way throughout the challenge experience.

They commented on children developing skills in ICT, maths, budgeting, speaking, listening and presentation skills. Although they also said,
 “it was a fantastic opportunity to extend the children’s learning outside of the core curriculum.”

One teacher felt the class really bonded and some worked with children they wouldn’t normally work with. 
A teacher at St Luke’s, Formby observed a young girl who was really quiet in class who shone when reading a story to younger children.
One child told a teacher that it had made him more confident in helping the nursery children to prepare for primary school and ‘realise that the older children are not big and scary”.

Teachers commented on the challenge enabling the children to reach out to people they didn’t really know, to make friends with different age groups and to experience new environments e.g. nursing homes for the elderly. 
“Children took control and used their imagination”.

The challenge also provided teachers with an opportunity to do something different.  One school felt it had given staff the chance to take part in something real with a purpose away from the classroom (and SATS preparation) and said “it has been good for the staff to try something new.”

75% of the teachers said that the project had an impact on the community and the people in it with the project lasting a long time and having a legacy built into it.

New connections between schools and other community groups were established throughout the challenge i.e. with elderly people’s homes whose grounds are adjacent to the school, one teacher commenting that she had been in the school nearly ten years and had never been involved with the home. Similarly Grange Primary School made new links with their local Fire Station. Schools have already made links for subsequent collaborative projects and in other ways laid a legacy for the future. At Melling Primary they planted seeds on the local field and in the words of one Y6 pupil, India “the flowers will bloom and make the field beautiful”.

A teacher at Farnborough Road Junior School said that “the profile of the school has been raised in the local community with many people being very impressed with the pupil’s hard work.”

If you would like to know how your organisation can get involved in your own Smile £10 Challenge just get in touch – contact lynne@windmillsonline.co.uk

Click here to also here how Carillion set up and ran their own Challenge as part of their CSR commitment.