Full House for Seven Hills Student

To celebrate National Bingo Day on June 27th, Seven Hills pupil McKenzie Middleton was guest bingo caller at Valley Wood Care Home in Heeley, Sheffield.

McKenzie is a Year 10 pupil at Seven Hills Specialist School and uses Braille to access the curriculum. He was keen to become more confident reading numbers in Braille, so his class teacher offered him the opportunity to be the caller when his classmates enjoyed a game of bingo. As his confidence, and repertoire of bingo nicknames grew, he started acting as bingo caller in other classes across the school.

A man and a teenage boy.  the teenage boy has a microphone in his hand and is calling bingo numbers

McKenzie and his classmates are working towards their Duke of Edinburgh awards, part of which includes volunteering in the local community. Vicky Wraith, McKenzie’s Vision Support Teacher, thought McKenzie’s skills at bingo calling could be enjoyed by the wider community so started looking for opportunities.

Vicky explains, “McKenzie’s confidence has developed so much over the past academic year, and he loves entertaining people with his bingo calling. I thought bingo calling at a care home would give McKenzie the opportunity to show his skills to an appreciative audience and help the wider community.”

John Parker, Activities Coordinator at Valley Wood Care Home in Heeley, Sheffield, immediately replied to Vicky’s email suggesting that McKenzie came to act as caller at the weekly bingo sessions residents enjoy.

After a successful practice run in May, John invited McKenzie to be Guest of Honour Caller on National Bingo Day on June 27th. The afternoon was a great success, with well over 20 residents taking part. Afterwards, McKenzie and John awarded prizes and certificates to the winners.

“We’ve really enjoyed McKenzie coming into Valley Wood,” commented John, “It’s lovely to have young people come in to entertain our residents and he was a very good bingo caller.”

Neil Shackleton, the specialist vision support Teaching Assistant who helped McKenzie develop his bingo skills (& bad jokes) observed, “It’s been fantastic to see how well McKenzie has taken to using the microphone and confidently read the Braille numbers. He loved entertaining the Valley Wood residents with his jokes, and I really enjoyed acting as his bingo assistant.”

After being made to feel to welcome at Valley Wood, McKenzie is keen to become a regular bingo caller in the next academic year. “I’ve loved chatting to the people at Valley Wood,” remarked McKenzie. “They’ve all been so friendly, and I think they’ve enjoyed my bingo calling and jokes.”

An older lady and a man showing a certificate for national bingo day

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