Isabel Wood at Yesu in Norfolk
For my Community Action Placement I have been working at Yesu in Sheringham, Norfolk. As someone who had had little experience of time away from home without family or friends, two weeks on the opposite side of the country seemed, initially, a daunting prospect; but from the moment of my arrival I knew that there was a reason I had been sent to Yesu, and that my time here would change me- hopefully for the better.
Yesu is a community based project with three coffee bars in Sheringham, Holt and Melton Constable and a youth bus that alternates between sites in the local area. It aims to offer a place of comfort and security to local people, where they can come together in an environment that is safe and talk without fear of judgment. When I first read the aims of the project I thought that they seemed too ambitious to be a reality, but I was proven wrong on my first day when I met people who have become familiar to me over the past two weeks and whose support for each other still inspires me.
Little did I know on that day that soon I would be face painting on 'The Bus', getting to know customers whilst working in the coffee bar, catering a wedding, helping with the New Wine Church's Sunday School, attending a mental health group and spending the day at 'Newday'- a Christian youth festival- with 7000 other young people. But I have done all these things- and more.
To call this experience 'life changing' may seem an exaggeration, but in truth I have learnt more about myself during these past two weeks than any other. I have gained greater independence and confidence, been introduced to different sectors of society and different viewpoints, and seen that can be accepted by strangers as part of their community.
Yesu manages to achieve all its aims with a team of exceptionally hardworking volunteers and determined staff- and in just ten years it has turned its local community into a family. The opportunity to be a part of that family- even if it has only been for two weeks- is one that I will never forget, and I can only hope that one day I can play a larger part in something as vital and fantastic as this charity.