Sixth Form students compete in the Aspirations AEP final.

On the 4th December, a group of students went to London to compete in the Aspirations AEP final against 5 other Aspirations academies. The regional winners were also invited to write an article for the Banbury Guardian. You can read Will’s article below:

How often do you see an elderly person in the centre of town? You may not have stopped to think about it before, but the reality is stark: according to a local charity, more elderly people than ever are becoming isolated in Banbury.

As part of Banbury Sixth Form we are expected to take part in a Sixth Form project called the Aspirations Employability Portfolio (AEP), students and I assisted the Oxfordshire community foundation to look at this problem and try to find a solution: what we came up with was an innovative event that aimed to break down generational barriers.

The AEP involves Aspirations sixth form students setting aside three hours a week for ten weeks to work with a client to solve a real-world problem. Local professionals present their issues and we choose the project we feel the most passionately about. My team chose to work alongside Jayne Woodley from Oxfordshire Community Foundation, this charities aim is to make Oxfordshire a more equal and better place for all its residents no matter their age or background. The problem that Jayne introduced to us was that Banbury wasn’t age-friendly enough and this issue needed to be addressed. We conducted some research and concluded that older people were not coming into the town because of the lack of public toilets and benches around the town centre.

Elderly people who are exposed to extreme isolation and loneliness are up to 14% more likely to die a premature death, it leads to a decline in physical and mental health.

In order to pull off our event, we needed sponsorship. So five of us: Samuel, Charlotte, Danielle, Olivia and myself headed into the community to talk to local businesses, Tesco kindly sponsored us by giving lots of free food and drink, while the school art department provided us with resources for arts and craft.

The day of the event rolled around quickly; it was a huge success. For two hours the nursery children, our team and the elderly guests shared music and Christmas crafts activities. Our team also spent an hour having lunch with the elderly guests.
It was a wonderful atmosphere where everyone got on so well, ‘it was a lovely day out to socialise’. We set out to bring two generations together and ended up bringing together three.

Since the event we have been asked to host another event at Easter, which we are currently planning. I hope it will be even bigger.

AEP Final