Connie Lumsdon at Centre 63
Centre 63 is a youth centre in Kirkby, Liverpool, which does an amazing job at supporting the young people of Knowsley and offering advice on a range of issues.
I have spent the majority of my time at Centre 63 working with the Y.E.S. Project team, and I have felt very involved in the work that they do here. Y.E.S. Project stands for Youth Enquiry Service Project, and offers housing advice and support, as well as money and debt advice. The atmosphere is comfortable and open, and it is understandable how clients find the Centre an easily accessible place to come for advice and support. I have created new files for future clients, giving me a close-hand look at exactly what the support workers go through with each client needing tenancy support. I have accompanied a tenancy support worker on a home visit, making the situations of some of Centre 63's clients very real for me, and it wasn't until then that I even came close to understanding the mind-set and problems of these young people. Many clients that I have been involved with throughout my time here have been my age, which allowed me to empathise with them completely and this experience really hammered home the problems that some young adults must deal with.
My main project throughout my placement has been to improve and update the website. Centre 63's website had a modern layout and was perfectly functioning, however its content was from over 3 years ago, in some cases from 5/6 years ago. My mission was to completely update the website and make it an effective tool in the marketing and involvement of the Centre in the community. Primarily, working with the pages of the website improved my knowledge of the vast range of projects and activities that Centre 63 has to offer. When I first joined the Centre, it had just been shortlisted for a £10K renovation by international construction company, Saint-Gobain. I played a big role in advertising the competition on the website, encouraging Facebook users to share the link, and my supervisor Ann even spoke on Radio Merseyside to encourage listeners to vote for Centre 63. We will hear in a couple of weeks whether we have been successful in the competition. Centre 63 has so many services and projects which are great assets to the community, and yet there was no sign of them on the website; for example our Fare Share service (a charity which provides bags of fresh, healthy food for 20% of the normal price), Centre 63's status as a Cycle Hub (we have a number of bikes which are often used by Youth Club) and Joey's Valets (one of our ex-clients has set up a small valeting business at the Centre). All of this updated content is now on the website at: http://www.centre63.org.uk/news/. I've also updated staff photos on the website, pages about our projects and schemes and there are fresh quotations and ideas throughout the website.
I firmly believe in the hard work that everyone at Centre 63 does, however appreciation for their work is often overlooked. Jeane Lowe, chief executive of Centre 63, works day and night to provide the Centre with funding so that it can continue to provide quality advice and support. The local authority does not provide the Centre with any funding or support, and yet most of the Y.E.S. Project referrals are from health visitors and social workers who are employed by the authority. I have been able to see first-hand how this work directly affects the lives of the young people of Kirkby and Knowsley. It has been an amazing and unforgettable experience for me to work with these incredible people, who truly are unsung heroes.