About Whitgift: Supporting the underprivileged, the disabled & the elderly
Updated: Wed 15 Jan 2014
The Whitgift SNAP scheme (Special Needs Activity Project) provides an opportunity for pupils from Whitgift, from the two other Foundation schools and from neighbouring schools to care for disabled children and young people living in the London Borough of Croydon. The schemes take place at Whitgift School for two weeks during every summer holiday and, in 2008, started an additional Easter scheme. All the volunteers who apply to Whitgift SNAP to care for the young people on a one-to-one basis, must attend an interview, satisfactorily complete an enhanced CRB check and attend a compulsory training day prior to each scheme. In the Summer of 2010, over 400 students were given the opportunity to care for up to 90 children and young people aged between 5 ad 18 years and 36 young adults aged 18 to 25 years, with special needs from across the Croydon Borough. This allows parents and carers a much needed break from the demanding role of caring for youngsters with often very serious special needs.
The young people present with a wide variety of conditions, including cerebral palsy, Down's Syndrome and autism and, therefore, often provide a notable challenge to some of the volunteers. During the week the young people are engaged in activities as diverse as art, music, sport and swimming, as well as trips off site to the cinema, bowling, ice skating, Brighton and Diggerland. The schemes are a regular event during every summer holiday at Whitgift and have been so for the last 25 years. The Whitgift School facilities are integral to the schemes, ensuring that virtually all activities are carried out on site. Not only do these schemes provide enormous benefits to the disabled children and young people and their parents, it also provides a stimulating educational and caring experience for many school pupils within the Borough.
Since September 2009, the SNAP staff have been given a permanent office at the School which is their administrative base for the Project. The running costs of this office are met by Whitgift School.
Whitgift House is a residential care home for the elderly provided as part of the Whitgift Foundation. Whitgift pupils visit the House on a regular basis throughout the year, engaging with the elderly members of this community and providing entertainment such as musical performances and renditions of Christmas Carols; recitations of short stories and poetry; and card tricks.