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Community Service

St John’s runs a very successful Community Service Unit (CSU). 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 today there remains a very strong spirit of giving and support both to each other and to the extended community.

More than half of the Sixth Form pupils volunteer for weekly placements of an hour or more at one of over 20 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 include:

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