It has been a busy but exciting fortnight for the Children and Young People in Communities team doing exactly what our job is all about, empowering young people, hearing their voices and having jolly good fun!
Last week the team supported 14 young people aged between 14 and 21 who gave up their time during half term to get involved in some participatory appraisal training.
The group, many of who had never met before, came together at the Healthy Hub which is in the middle of Netherton Park. During the next two days not only would they learn some exciting and fun ways of working with other young people to find out what they think and feel but they would also have to think about what thriving and neglect meant to them as individuals and as a collective.
To kick things off and get to know each other better, they started with a game of human bingo, where they had to go around the room as quickly as possible getting everyone’s names and learning what they love about living in Dudley. The space soon became vibrant and full of laughter and chatter!
The group learned various techniques that bond groups together and enable people to understand and explore different opinions, views and experiences. In small groups they themselves then explored what it means to thrive. Each group produced an image that expressed how they felt and which acted as a great conversation starter.
Then came the more difficult tasks of trying to unpick what neglect meant to them. We were blown away by their honesty, sensitivity and the open conversations that they had. They looked at it from different perspectives and explored the causes and effects of neglect. It lead to interesting teatime conversations with parents and grandparents that evening, which is kind of what we wanted this training to do, encourage conversation and debate and get people talking!
The next morning they were back and ready to get stuck in, they had the opportunity to go on a transect walk, learn about preference ranking, conversation starters and construct their own puppet theatre as a participatory technique. Everyone left with an action to have conversations with their peer groups and the offer of support if they wanted it. It was amazing to see their knowledge, relationships and confidence grow in just two days. We are honestly so excited to see what happens next and continue to work with these awesome young people.
On Tuesday this week, Halloween, we knew we were in for a terrifying time, mainly because PC Paul Davies had once again convinced us to work in partnership and get involved in his shenanigans! There is only one thing scarier than being alone in Wrens Nest Woods with PC Davies and that is to have about 20 young people with you!!! Most of them dressed up as ghastly ghouls and fiendishly frightening!
We love getting involved in stuff like this as you really get to know the young people and they get to know you as well as getting to know each other. Different ages, situations, schools, lifestyles, beliefs coming together to do something that they want to do. Everyone enters into the spirit of things, the room gets decorated, everyone dresses up, they have a walk through the woods, come together for witches fingers (hot dogs) and witch’s brew (Nicki’s chilli!) and eat marshmallows to a background of spooky tunes!
This is just two of the opportunities that October offered that the team could get involved with, you have to agree, we do have the best jobs in the world! Bring on November!