Lizzie Fry at YKids

Lizzie Fry at YKids

I didn't know quite what to expect when I found out that I was to go to YKids in Bootle for my Community Action Placement. From their website I got the impression that they were a highly active charity involved in a lot of different activities and, despite not knowing the area at all, I began to really look forward to getting to know both Bootle and Liverpool itself. Any nerves I did have were dispelled by my pre-placement visit. I went by myself and arranged to meet Kate Yates at the station, she then showed me some of the city centre attractions which helped to give me a grounding before taking me to the YKids café North Perk. Talking about YKids and what I would be doing on my placements in this informal setting was very helpful and was not at all nervous when I met everyone in the office and fixed up the dates with Claire Morgans. It was encouraging to see the enthusiasm of her and her staff and how much they all clearly enjoyed their work.

Arriving for the first week of my CAP I was glad to be staying in the same home as Beth H, one of the YKids Gappers, as she not only showed me around but we did a lot of the same sessions throughout the week which made adapting to each easier. The year six transition workshops were a good example of this as I joined in with the routine alongside the assembly at Primrose Hope Primary School where I had only the bus journey there to learn the words and actions the song we were leading, a daunting task but one I like to think we pulled off with aplomb. Joining the children from the special needs class on sports day was a touching highlight of the week for me. I did four transition workshops throughout the week and felt more confident with each one and felt that the whole team coped well with some challenging behaviour on occasion."Office work" was surprisingly enjoyable with ordinary chores but later some laminating and cutting out which, because it was not too challenging, allowed me to see how a charity is actually managed and organised. The only thing I did not particularly enjoy or find useful from the two weeks placement was a day spent working in the café run as a social enterprise by YKids, though the idea is interesting and admirable.

The second week doing "Mean Green Clean" in Aspinall's Field was great fun as it allowed everyone to chat with everyone else whilst helping to make a serious improvement to the area. My painting skills definitely improved and it was really nice to contribute to something concrete that passers-by were enjoying before the project was finished. Painting the details of the mural was satisfying even if it took nearly a week to get all the paint off my arm. Kate Yates deserves credit for arranging evening activities for me in both weeks, especially in the second week when the Gappers had left, as do Anne Woodruff and Claire Morgans for taking me out in the evening. Kate also arranged my accommodation and Sharon Jones looked after me very well and she and her daughter Holly really helped make me feel very welcome as soon as I arrived. All in all I had two fantastic weeks in Bootle and feel privileged to have had the opportunity, through Rank, to visit and work for YKids.