Link Group

Link Group has run for over 20 years at Huntington School. The school welcomes senior citizens from the local community, into school, every Wednesday afternoon to meet students, take part in an activity and have a cup of tea. It is a brilliant opportunity for local seniors to meet and socialise and for our students to meet people they wouldn’t come across in their everyday lives and to gain skills such as communication, team work and problem solving.

If you would like to come along to the Link Group, contact Mr Saltmer at the school on 01904 752100 or by email at [email protected].

Link Group Programme – Spring 2016

Here is a summary of some of the recent Link Group activities, written by one of our Sixth Form students and sometimes by our guest speakers themselves:

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Wednesday 13 May was the day of the Link Group summer excursion. We met at school at 9.15am and boarded two minibuses which took us first to Langlands Garden Centre, Shiptonthorpe, and then to Burnby Hall Gardens, Pocklington.

At Langlands Garden Centre the first stop was the coffee shop, which has an outdoor seating area so we were able to sit outside and enjoy coffee and cake in glorious sunshine. There was then an opportunity for general shopping and purchasing plants, as long as they were not too big to fit in a minibus! It was soon lunch time and we tucked into a hearty meal of steak pie, quiche or fish and chips.

Back on board the minibuses, we set off for Burnby Hall Gardens, which are are often referred to as “a haven of beauty and tranquillity” and were the inspiration of Major Percy Marlborough Stewart. He was an amazing man who made eight round the world tours between 1906 and 1926. The Stewart Museum within the Gardens is dedicated to his extraordinary life and contains the fascinating artefacts he brought back to Pocklington. Our visit coincided with one of the final days of the annual Tulip Festival; there were some spectacular tulip displays of all shapes, sizes and colours.

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Following a gentle stroll round the beautifully kept gardens, there was time for a very welcome cup of tea in the cafe, not to mention the odd ice cream for some!

We returned to school for the end of the afternoon, having thoroughly enjoyed a great day out.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

I see that youthful Mr Saltmer wrote in December: “The main highlight of … Link Group for me is the kindness… our students have shown towards our Senior Citizens; it’s very comforting”  – if he finds the kindness of the young comforting then imagine how comforted I am at 70! So I am always comfortable to be asked to talk to the Link Group – and I enjoy making the projected Powerpoint shows for the talks – these are almost all photographs but I use them to guide me instead of relying on notes or my memory.

I have done talks on mushrooms and fungi, Clifford’s Tower, the City Walls and guiding tourists in York -this time I talked about the beautiful Museum Gardens; this gave me a wonderful excuse for wandering around the gardens on a lovely spring day taking extra photographs for the talk.  I used to be a teacher [at this school] so I like talking -so it is lucky for me that in the Link Group the young organisers and helpers are not the only ones who show kindness – the Link Group members are very kind and attentive to their speakers!  Amongst other things I talked about the ruins and the bits of the museum’s collection they have scattered around – and also about their “county champion trees” and their new, semi-secret, unmapped toilets.

Museum Gardens

Wednesday 15 April 2015

As retired teachers, both Roger Walton and I are no strangers to the classroom or lecture hall. Even in retirement we still present our work and ‘teach’ at our respective clubs. In both cases our involvement is with the art and technology of photography. A subject that provided us both, along with many of our friends, with the means for a bit of escapism from the routine of our daily work in schools.

Now, of course, with more time to spare (so they say), we have been able to embrace photography. Not so much as a hobby any more, but a way of life. It takes us all over the county and often beyond, enabling us to tackle and enjoy subjects and events that we might never have considered without a camera in our hands and a print in mind.

Driffield Steam Rally (3)

Smoking Whitby Goth (3)

Our visit to Huntington School gave us yet another opportunity to share our interest, this time with members of the school and visitors by presenting a number of audio-visual sequences that we had recently put together. We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Huntington and hope that everyone in the audience enjoyed seeing and hearing our take on life through our pictures and music or commentary.

We were certainly well received and looked after, especially by the students whose attitude and behaviour were friendly and polite. They were a credit to themselves, their families and, of course, the school. We are told that we may be invited back and so are already looking for new photographs and planning new sequences. We look forward to meeting everyone again in due course.

Bryan Oxley and Roger Walton

Wednesday 18 March 2015

This week in link group we were delighted to welcome Mr Parmiter, who gave the Senior Citizens a talk on Philosophy & Ethics. This involved getting them to join in and talk about philosophers and their knowledge and background.

They talked about how this related to some of the advertisements they see on the TV from day to day and how they have a deeper meaning to them when explained. After this session we all indulged in some tea, coffee and biscuits. Our guests were delighted that Tom Sutton had taken a lot of time and trouble to bake a coffee cake which they enjoyed with their refreshments.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

This week in Link Group, we were delighted to welcome Karl Elwell, a teacher of English and Media Studies at Huntington School, to come in and share with us his expertise in modern day technology. He helped the Senior Citizens to use the iPads, teaching them how to take photos and create comic strips to be presented to everyone at the end.

Here is one of the comic strips we produced:


We really enjoyed the lesson and were encouraged to ask questions throughout and after it had finished. As always at Link Group tea and biscuits were served at the end of the session and the Senior Citizens and students enjoyed a natter. Thank you to Mya and Lara for baking some delicious brownies for everyone to enjoy.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

This week in Link Group we were delighted to welcome another group of Senior Citizens to visit us here at Huntington School for an afternoon of music magic. Mr Saltmer handed the stage over to Fiona Chapman who gave us a demonstration of singing and dancing, which we were then asked to copy and join in.

This involved the Senior Citizens getting into mixed teams and making up their own set of dance moves with the upper half of their still young figures and singing along to both old and new songs.

It was a great afternoon and an opportunity to mix with other members of the local community over a cup of tea.

Here is a thank you email from Fiona after the Link Group afternoon:

Hi Lee

Thanks again for inviting us to join the Link Group this afternoon. You, Barbara and your students were incredibly welcoming, and everyone who attended from the homes had a great time.

You obviously have a great thing going with your regular group – I hope the event was enjoyable for all, and the students weren’t too traumatised by some of the activities!! It would be good to organise something for later in the year, if you are sure you would like us back. Anyway, thanks again – it was fun working with you!

Best wishes


Wednesday 25 February 2015

This week in Link Group Tim and Connor were able to give up their free time in order to give the Senior Citizens a fulfilling life lesson on handling computers. They gave them a step by step guide to accessing their mail accounts and Microsoft Word. The Senior Citizens were then asked to type and send an email; it was a really useful and enjoyable activity.

We then all headed back down to the Common Room to relax and have a chit chat over refreshments. Here is an example of an email sent:

Hi Jess,

Thank you for giving us lots of help at Link Group. We always enjoy Wednesday afternoon worth good company. Lovely refreshments and lots of brilliant students. A special thanks to Mr. Saltmer for creating such an interesting programme long may he continue. Learning about the computer is very interesting. I hope we can have more sessions soon.

Bye for now, see you soon.



Wednesday 4 February 2015

This week the Art PDP students invited the Senior Citizens to engage in pot making and decorating and show off their talents and skills. They were asked to mould clay and make pots in teams or individually and these would then be fired in the kiln ready for painting ready to take home as a souvenir of Link Group.

This activity was followed by tea and coffee in the Common Room, accompanied by home-made cakes provided by Sixth Form students, Georgia Cutt and Livi Bullivant.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

This week our Senior Citizens were entertained by Huntington School Year 11 students, who provided us with an afternoon of music. Maddie Drury and Hannah Bayliss gave us a beautiful performance, singing ‘Hallelujah’ accompanied by Sally Philips playing the harp. Ben Mould and Will Gibbon gave a spectacular performance that everyone really enjoyed massively; Ben played the keyboard and Will played the saxophone. We even received a solo by Mr Saltmer himself which the Senior Citizens always seem to enjoy. Link Group 2015 3After this we engaged in a chat over tea, coffee and biscuits.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

This week in Link Group, we were delighted to welcome Dorothy Bilton, a former Link Group Coordinator, to come in after a number of years and share with us her adventures around Antarctica and Chile. She described the ups and downs of her holidays and how sleeping in a bag in the middle of the Antarctic was not what she had expected…

We really enjoyed the talk and were encouraged to ask questions throughout and after it had finished. As always at Link Group tea and biscuits were served at the end of the session and the Senior Citizens and students enjoyed a natter.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

This week in Link Group we were delighted to have invited in Les Hodgson to play us some of his best work on the keyboard. Everyone was encouraged to sing along if they knew the words, and reflect on memories that some of these songs reflected from their past experiences.

Link Group 2015 1

At the end of the session tea and biscuits were served; this particular week we were treated to a carrot cake baked especially by one of our students.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

On 3 December our Link Group enjoyed a three course meal at the Swallow’s Nest in Wheldrake. The Senior Citizens and students thoroughly enjoyed the heart-warming, festive atmosphere that this venue provided. It was great to see the two groups board the minibuses together, excited for an afternoon ride out with good food and great company.

Link Group Christmas Lunch 2014

The students have really made an effort to build some positive relationships and have represented the youth of today in an extremely favourable light. They should be very proud of what their joint effort has and can achieve. It’s important that they are a great social part of the community as well as being academically successful. The main highlight of this term’s Link Group for me is the kindness, empathy and understanding our students have shown towards our Senior Citizens; it’s very comforting and reassuring.
Mr Saltmer