Cardinal Newman students supported older people and those with complex disabilities during their school Mission Week.

People who live at St Joseph’s Care Home and those who use St Catherine’s Day Service recently enjoyed a week of activities courtesy of students from Cardinal Newman Catholic School in Coventry.

Four groups of Year Eleven students, accompanied by tutors Paul Wells and Geraldine Isherwood, spent their days helping out at the Father Hudson’s-run services in Coleshill as part of the senior school’s Mission Week.

The first group visited St Joseph’s Care Home, where they escorted residents to Mass. Molly Wilson, one of the students, said: “We were lucky to share Mass with residents and staff. It was a beautiful way to reflect and pray ready for the rest of our Mission week.”

Following the service the students spent time with a group of residents taking part in a craft session with Creative Mojo. They talked to people about what they were making and supported them to paint Hallowe’en decorations for a display in the home. As well as creating art together, the two groups enjoyed talking to each other about their lives. They talked about what they had enjoyed at school, the students’ ambitions on completing their own studies and much more besides. One pair, Mya and Doreen, hit it off straight away and spent the session chatting and laughing together.

The following day, a group spent the morning with clients at St Catherine’s Day Centre. They enjoyed a tour of the centre during which they learned about the support it offers to people with complex care needs. Afterwards, they helped clients decorate cupcakes that the students had brought with them. It was a relaxed atmosphere, with the students supporting clients as much as needed to decorate the cakes the way they wanted. The cakes and decorations were courtesy of the Co-op local to the school, who provided £50 worth of vouchers to buy the sweet treats.

They then sat together to chat with clients and enjoy eating their creations – making sure to leave some for staff!

On Thursday and Friday two groups returned to St Catherine’s Day Service. They received tours of the facilities and particularly enjoyed seeing the hydrotherapy pool. They then spent their days working in the sensory garden. The youngsters weeded, dug the flower beds, cleaned garden furniture and got rid of bags of garden waste. Paul and Geraldine got stuck in too, sweeping up leaves and handing out well-deserved refreshments to the workers.

Karen McPherson, manager of St Catherine’s Day Service, said: “It was a pleasure to have them with us. They were fantastic hard workers and the garden looks amazing. They even worked in the rain, digging and weeding and cleaning the furniture for us. We hope that they will come again.”

The visits were part of the school’s Mission Week, ahead of the canonisation of their patron Blessed John Henry Newman on Sunday 13 October.

During the week the students were exploring his journey to sainthood and learning more about their own journeys. As well as the outreach work, they experienced a range of activities and workshops in school and celebrated Blessed John Henry Newman’s Feast Day with a number of Masses.

Geraldine said the school was incredibly proud of the students and they were pleased to give them the opportunity to take part in the experiences. She said the students had greatly enjoyed themselves and were already asking if they could come again.