• Rupert House is at the heart of Henley

  • Rupert House is for life

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Alice Lowe (2007 Leaver)

Alice has been volunteering with Oxford and District Mencap since she was 17, organising summer holiday camps for young people with learning disabilities.

Since I was 17, I have been volunteering for Oxford and District Mencap, a local charity which provides advice and support for people with learning disabilities and their families. In particular, every summer the charity runs four residential summer camps at Hill End Camp in Farmoor, near Oxford, where we run activities and day trips covering everything from visiting the circus, arts and crafts, the cinema, the theme park, the swimming pool, drum workshops, musical performances and animal petting. The holidays are so important as they not only provide a holiday for our guests, but also vital respite for their families and carers.

I first started volunteering to gain experience to support my medical school application at the time, but got absolutely hooked and have been coming back ever since. The camps are so special to me as it is clear many of our guests spend all year getting excited for their holiday and it is amazing to see the interactions and friendships that blossom between our volunteers and guests. It is also an amazing feeling to be involved with something that it is giving back to the community and providing a service that is loved and valued by so many people.

At 19, I became Oxford Mencap’s youngest ever Camp Leader, which was a huge honour. The role requires me to organise and run one of the four camps, including managing the budget, recruiting and training volunteers, designing menus and overseeing catering, booking activities and transport, and being responsible for guest and volunteer health and safety. Although the role is very demanding, I really enjoy rising to the challenge and the result is incredibly rewarding. Growing up with the opportunity to engage with leadership opportunities has really helped me become the leader I am today. Even at primary level, at Rupert House School, positions such as member of the Henley Youth Town Council, Head Girl and House Captain taught me important skills early on which have served me well particularly in learning how to manage teams and communicate effectively. I hope to take these skills forward into my career as a leader in Global Health.

Rupert House gave me the opportunity to develop leadership skills early in my life which have really served me well in both my personal and professional life