Dileta Senkyire, a changemaker based with Hackney Council, worked on a project to set up a homework club pilot in a Hackney youth club. The club is aimed at providing extracurricular activity for students aged 11-16 to improve their academic progress in English, Science and Mathematics.
Dileta says: “I had noticed both through my own experiences and also through speaking to other young people in the local area that there was no-one to help students with their homework. Outside of school hours they couldn’t go to their teachers, and so it was just left up to them to get on with it.”
She came up with an idea of a homework club to tackle this issue, where university students and graduates from Hackney would volunteer to tutor the secondary school students: “The good thing about the tutors coming from Hackney was that there was a sense of them giving something back to their local community and acting as role models to their younger peers.”
The pilot homework club ran for eight weeks, and Hackney Council is now planning to run the project in the long term. They will continue to run the club at its original venue, at the youth club. The Council is also in the process of renovating their youth clubs and hope to roll out to them over the next few months.
The project was not without its challenges: “Engaging the students and volunteers was difficult.” says Dileta. “It was difficult to fit in with the students’ other commitments, and was sometimes challenging to get the students along – we didn’t always have great numbers and it took a long time to get them to attend. If I was to do the project again, I would think about how I might better use school assemblies to promote the project.”
Alongside her project with Hackney Council, Dileta also took part in Changemakers’ Leadership Development Programme. She saw this as something which gave her greater confidence which she was able to apply to her project:
“The programme helped a lot. I had to give a presentation to managers and decisions makers during my project and the things I had learnt about presentation were useful. I knew to keep the audience engaged, and to make sure that it wasn’t just me speaking at them all the time. I hadn’t taken on a leadership role before, so it helped to build my confidence which then helped me when I was speaking with students and encouraging them to get involved.”
Dileta is understandably proud of what she has achieved: “I was proud that I did the project. When I first came up with the idea I didn’t think anyone would come along. But as time progressed and I got the training sorted, the project started to take shape. The volunteers and students were really dedicated, and the students were great at spreading the word. It showed me that whilst not everything will work out, things can happen. I’m really proud that this is a project which will live on in Hackney.”