Reaching Higher is a youth organization based in Croydon, which provides a range of creative and interactive activities for young people. These include PSHE sessions, residential youth camps, creative arts groups, musical productions, sports and practical life skill seminars. This summer, the youth group organised the “Summer Blitz” programme which aims to keep young people engaged in positive activities during the summer. Thanks to a Small Grant awarded to the group by the Jack Petchey Foundation, 50 members of the youth group were able to take a trip to central London to visit the Sea Life Centre.
Reaching Higher decided that a trip to the Sea Life Centre would be perfect for a large group of their members as it provides an interactive learning experience for young people who have varying learning needs and abilities. The sessions held at the aquarium also provided a learning opportunity for young people, both those attending school and those in pupil referral units, to explore the world they live in as part of the national curriculum. The Sea Life Centre was a positive environment which helped to build young people’s confidence about their education and help some of them to re-engage with learning in a positive way.
Many of the young people that Reaching Higher work with are from disadvantaged backgrounds, for whom going on trips in London is not always affordable, therefore the grant awarded to them by the Jack Petchey Foundation made it possible for any member to take part. The trip was an opportunity for the young people to share an exciting experience together and to make new friends. It also gave the group a chance to enjoy learning about sea life as well as the sights of central London outside of the area they live.
Here’s what the young people had to say about the trip:
Jolin, aged 13: “It was good to go to London with lots of people and not be in Croydon all the time with the same people.”
Rachel, aged 12: “I enjoyed looking at the animals and reading facts about them and going to London. I was also fascinated by touching the starfish and I learnt facts about sea horses and starfish.”
John, aged 16: “My favourite part was where we had to walk through the see through glass and all the different fish.”
Nicky, aged 12: “The fish were pretty they had nice colours and I liked it when we walked on the sharks” (part of the aquarium had an area where visitors could walk over glass with sharks swimming beneath).
Joseph, aged 17: “I enjoyed looking at the beautiful sea life creatures. The experience of learning about sea animals and touching them as well - I touched a starfish and it felt smooth.”
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