The many gifts and abilities of Westminster pupils are not just given an outlet in academic and extra-curricular activities; they are also put to work in an altruistic capacity.

Whether they choose to work with the elderly, teach children from disadvantaged areas, support people with disabilities or serious health issues, or give their time to environmental projects, every pupil is encouraged to participate in some type of volunteering during their time at Westminster. They are also encouraged to develop their own initiatives according to their strengths and the needs they see in front of them: recent successes include an art-based project with local almshouse residents and instrumental music teaching at one of our neighbouring primary schools. Where appropriate, pupils may also marry their fundraising activity with their volunteering, allowing them to offer both financial and personal support to the organisations with which we work.

Once pupils reach the Sixth Form they are able to engage with volunteering at a deeper level, with the opportunity to take specific courses to equip them for their chosen community projects. For example, they could learn British Sign Language in preparation for work at the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children; or they could receive formal TEFL training, with a view to mentoring children with little or no English.

However our Westminsters choose to give of their time, we are always pleased to see that, in addition to the benefits felt by the receiving organisations and individuals, pupils really enjoy their work; discovering new personal strengths and forming friendships they might never have thought possible.

To find out more about the volunteering programme at Westminster, please contact gilly.french@westminster.org.uk.