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Community Service

St John’s runs a very successful Community Service Unit. The Unit thrives owing to the passion and kindness evident amongst pupils. Historically, St John’s purpose was originally to support the children of poor clergy and now, as the School has evolved, there is still a very strong spirit of giving and support to each other and to the extended community. More than half of the Sixth Form volunteer for weekly placements of an hour or more at one of over twenty community locations. The unofficial ethos is to leave people and places better than when they were found. Supporting local groups in this way breaks down barriers across the ages, socio-economic groups and classes. The Sixth Form positively queue up to take part in the placements and the feedback from them is fantastic. They enjoy giving to others for no other reason than it is a nice experience to give and take great pride in what they do.

Placements take place during the school day (a free period or an activity session) and during many precious evenings and weekends. Most are a five-minute walk from school. A few pupils take part to support their accreditation for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. It is possible to choose both Community Service and also Combined Cadet Force.

Community work challenges pupils to step out of their comfort zones, but in an environment where they are supported: they are never left on their own. They gain many opportunities to enhance their interpersonal skills and increase self-confidence, building experience of dealing with awkward situations and handling conflict. They also benefit by learning from the finely tuned skills that care workers develop. Community Service complements the many other attributes developed at St John’s, such as academic strengths, music/drama talents, sporting excellence and leadership qualities. When it comes to their university applications, these offer a balance and show that there is more to a St John’s pupil than a list of qualifications.

Some of the ways in which pupils help out locally are as follows:

Playgroups Acting as good role models for toddlers from a diverse set of backgrounds
Primary Schools Listening to pupils read and acting as general helpers in local primary school classes
Youth Clubs Taking part in youth clubs in the local area for teenagers and primary-school children
Community Football Refereeing and helping to set up football games on a Friday night for 60 local teenagers
Care Homes Bringing the atmosphere alive in the local elderly people's home every Thursday
Local Elderly Gardening and befriending local residents
Day Centres Teaching IT and playing chess at the local day centre in town with the active elderly
Leatherhead Start Taking spare lunches every day to the local homeless night centre
Seeability Supporting adults with sight loss and multiple disabilities
Mencap Social Club Joining in at the Mencap social club by doing puzzles, playing ping pong and befriending
Epsom Hospital Visiting and befriending patients in the elderly care wards at Epsom Hospital
Riding for the Disabled Volunteering by leading horses and building riders' confidence
Christmas Lunch Christmas lunch for the local elderly and disabled
Summer Tea Summer cream tea for the local elderly and disabled
Community Holiday Annual holiday in August for local children with mental and physical disabilities
Local Charities Providing fundraising office support for local charities
St John's Award Supporting the 4th Form to do challenges, problem solving, orienteering and camp craft