Sally Park Nursing home is not too far away from St. Colmcille’s Community School, the residents there, like so many of the nations elderly, have endured a difficult time of late dealing with all that this virus has brought to our lives. Being in the most at-risk category of the population coupled with the reduced visits from loved ones has been tough on all aspects of wellbeing. Recognising this, students in St. Colmcille’s responded by creating inspirational artworks for each of the residents that live in Sally Park, the images were framed and cards and messages of solidarity let the residents know that the Knocklyon community may be with them in body but are certainly with them in spirit.

“This is great, this is just so lovely for the residents and for the staff, thank you to all the students involved” Sheila King Passage Health Care

Following on from this initial engagement, students wrote letters and cards to the residents to remind them that they are in the thoughts of the young people in the community. And in a third wave of engagement since September, students sent Christmas Cards and gifts to the residents and to staff, those magnificent frontline workers that give so much to care for the most vulnerable in our community.

“The [Localise] programme has been really great for our students, it links the community to the school and allows the students to feel like they are being proactive in the face of Covid. It also reflects what we are trying to achieve here in terms of school ethos” Darren Carey Teacher St. Colmcille’s Community School.

The Localise Classroom to Community programme is available free of charge to all schools and can be accessed online via

Classroom to Community is a seed programme that awakens the spirit of volunteerism and helps develop key skills necessary to respond to real needs within the local community. It is designed for all ages and learner types and easily fits with existing curriculum components or can be implemented as a stand-alone volunteering programme.

The programme is divided into 5 modules. Classes are typically timetabled once a week, some sessions can be completed virtually through Zoom when necessary. It typically takes between 8 and 10 weeks to complete this programme.

Localise Youth Volunteering has been working in partnership with schools to implement student led volunteering programmes since 2007.

By Harry Keogh, Education Coordinator with Localise Youth Volunteering