The need for this project
Here at Oasis Oldham we want to create lasting relationships in which we support one another and help our peers to succeed. The school is located within one of the most deprived wards in the area, with residents in the local area having some of the poorest levels of health. We want to do more for our students so involve a group of year 7’s and year 10’s in a peer mentoring project.
What we are already doing
We are fortunate to have a small farm within the school which is used in a holistic way for students to gain confidence in themselves and their abilities, while developing healthy relationships with their peers. This work builds upon the experiences gained at Jamie's Farm and helps to create long lasting impacts with our students which are then shared with other members of our school community.
The students benefit from experiencing close contact with animals, helping them to refocus during the school day; stay calm, particularly during exam periods which can be stressful for students; and through our afterschool club were they can demonstrate responsibility and team work through caring for the animals.
We want our students to be successful and resilient and have the capability and understanding of how to support others to thrive. The project also enables us to involve the students in gardening and growing fruit and vegetables, helping to promote healthier eating habits. Research shows that having a physical connection with the soil helps to improve mood, reduce stress and helps to develop a greater sense of self- things we want for all our students!
The peer mentoring project is an important part of what we do to support the mental wellbeing of our school and wider community. By providing our peer mentors with the opportunity to visit Jamie's Farm for a residential, we instil the sense of family, cohesion and respect for one another; bring together and reflect upon our work as a team and celebrate the positive impact we have had in our school community.
Why Peer Mentoring?
Peer mentoring helps our year 10 students to become supportive, positive and caring mentors to some of our most vulnerable year 7’s, some of whom have struggled with the transition from primary to secondary school.
Having an older peer within the school that offers support enables our year 7’s to develop healthy, interdependent relationships that help them to thrive within the school community. Our peer mentors are supported in building effective mentoring relationships and act as a role model for younger students.
One of our year 7 mentees said;
“Having a peer mentor is really cool because she helps me with things I find difficult. She makes me feel welcome, she is kind and I aspire to be like her.”
Our project enables our year 7 mentees to have a listening ear available within the school community and a consistent presence in their lives. We know that having a shared interest or experience helps to develop stronger relationships, so work to develop this throughout the year and through Jamie's Farm.
Peer mentors also benefit from being able to hold a role of significance within the school community, helping them to become more conscious in their actions and role within the wider community. Being a role model helps our mentors to improve their self-esteem and confidence while becoming involved in volunteering, which helps them to stand out when applying for further education.
How we are raising money
We have already secured a donation towards the cost of the residential however, we are working together to raise more money to enable this trip to take place. We have a lot of ideas of how we can raise money and will be doing this together.
We are also working with our Community Hub to help us save money and learn about the value and cost of this trip through our credit union. Saving money through the credit union helps mentors and mentees to become more responsible for their financial health and security while teaching them good saving habits and responsibility for their money.
Keep checking out our page and social media to see how well we have managed to reach our goal and if you are able, please consider a donation to our project.
Any donations will be hugely appreciated and will help us to continue this important work within our community.