Juggling and juicing oranges. Mastering Makaton. Heathrow Express colleagues enjoy a healthy, helpful start to 2018

Heathrow Express had a healthy start to the New Year with 12 colleagues spending Tuesday 9 January at Pursuing Independent Paths. The charity, more commonly known as PIP, supports adults with learning difficulties through a weekly programme of activities designed to develop independence and encourage healthy lifestyles.

The volunteers had a busy morning at the Yaa Centre, working alongside the students to peel, prepare and pulp fruit ready to make smoothies for the charities social enterprise, Fruitful. After being treated to a lunch of salad wraps, prepared and served by PIP students, everyone returned for lessons in the classroom.

Six of the volunteers participated in a Makaton class. In addition to being taught how to say their name, the volunteers learnt a whole array of terms frequently needed when travelling on trains. The intention is that this knowledge will be shared with the train crew who can use it to support passengers.

A second group supported an ecology class, participating in a game sorting rubbish into different bins. As one volunteer commented, “the ecology session was a great opportunity to see the facilitation of learning and development skills in the students.”

For the Heathrow Express employees, PIP staff and students it was a very positive day.

Summing up the experience, Adam Pearson the co-ordinator of PIP in W9 said, "Heathrow Express were a brilliant group of volunteers. They were all really interested in what we do, interacted fantastically with our students and were enthusiastic about getting involved."

It is hoped that in the future Heathrow Express will be able to support the travel training PIP delivers and welcome the students on board a train for a trip to Heathrow. The Community Programme is looking forward to being part of the journey.