Volunteer in schools for an active retirement

May 05 2016

Volunteer in schools for an active retirement

COULD you become part of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Programme (RSVP), which has been helping children in Bristol schools for over 20 years?

“We have been working closely with the Mayor’s Reading Partners scheme, but our volunteers operate to a different model,” said Mina Malpass, one of the volunteer schools placement organisers.

RSVP volunteers, who are retired or semiretired, work with children of all ages in schools, in a less formal way.

Mina explained: “Many of our RSVP volunteers have been going into schools for a number of years, getting to know the children and helping them, not with the mechanics of reading, but developing a real love of books and having fun, with one-to- one help. We believe that all children benefit from individual attention.”

Volunteers also help with other areas of the curriculum such as number work and maths, or arts and crafts or other special interests. RSVP works closely with the city council, complementing the work done in the Reading Partners scheme, which concentrates on schools where reading performance is not as good as it should be.

Volunteer, Denise Hopley, is in her second year of helping, and has been so well received in her school that she has been provided with additional training by them.

Denise said: “I have taken a two-day booster training programme so that I can be more useful and that I can understand the programme the school follows. It is a loving and friendly school and I enjoy working there. I particularly enjoy the flexibility of the RSVP programme and it was this that drew me to it in the first place.”

Most volunteers are happy with the initial training that RSVP provides, but a few want to do more. The teacher who has been supporting Denise is just moving to a new school but she has asked RSVP to find some more volunteers for her in her new school, which is a very positive endorsement of their work.

Older volunteers who are interested in another option for helping in schools are invited to visit the RSVP website, rsvpwest. org.uk , or contact the RSVP West office at the Create Centre, Seaton Road, BS16XN, Tel: 0117 922 4392 or email office@rsvpwest. org.uk .