Ten Year 7 pupils from the Wilberforce House at Huntington School joined five tenants from the Wilberforce Trust supported housing in York on 10 January to make ‘Spectacular Spectacles’, which the pupils had designed late last year. This was the latest project between Wilberforce and its namesake, one of the four ‘houses’ at the school, over the past two or three years.

The spectacle-making session took place in the Living&Learning Zone (LLZ) at the Wilberforce headquarters in Huntington, where there are regular art and craft sessions for people with sight loss and other disabilities, including learning disabilities.

Huntington School pupils

Pupils who took part were: Tom Atkinson, Emily Betteridge, Eleanor Clarke, Emma Hammell, Jack Langtree, Victoria Patchett, Leah Pinder, Ellie Ward, Evie Wilman and Rebecca Woods.

The session was run voluntarily by tutor Deborah New, who runs many art, crafts and cookery sessions for Wilberforce in the LLZ. The pupils were joined by their form tutor, Helen, and Volunteer Coordinator at the school, Betsy. The Wilberforce tenants  – Caroline, Carole, Gordon, June and Pat – were each accompanied by their support worker.

After the first five minutes no one entering the room would have guessed that the pupils had never been in this unusual situation before. They rapidly made friends with their tenant partners and work began with much concentration but also a lot of laughter. After little more than an hour ten pairs of ‘Spectacular Spectacles’ were completed. The remainder of the two-hour session was taken up decorating masks.

Wilberforce Communications Coordinator, Roger Livesey, who organised the session following a suggestion from the Wilberforce Rehabilitation team, which is keen to promote the importance of eye health to young people, said: “The pupils from Huntington School were amazing and it was a pleasure, as at every event we have done with the school, to be with them. I’m sure the whole of the Wilberforce Trust is grateful to them and the school staff who have made this enjoyable and fruitful partnership possible. A special thanks is due to ‘Head of Wilberforce House’ at the school, German teacher Simon Wareham, who has made this collaboration possible”.