Seb Siersted at Centre 63
My overall experience
My time in Centre 63 comprised of an extremely full on and intense two weeks which were hugely rewarding and when I left I realised how lucky I had been to be able to spend the time I had in Liverpool. Jeane and Charlotte at the Center did wonders to make me feel immediately at home. Being in a Centre where everyone was so friendly and welcoming made my experience extremely enjoyable.
Having never before travelled to Liverpool understanding the accent at times proved tricky! However it was great to once again get immersed into a new set of surroundings. My experience really was made by the people who work and use the Centre. Most of my time was spent with LYBRO (Liverpool Young Boys Riding Organisation) which is a project that encourages teenagers excluded from schools to attend alternative education at college with the incentive being that they are able to learn to ride motorbikes. At times hard work it was really good fun and a true experience. With LYBRO I was able to meet and talk with boys that have had a tough start and have never had the best of fortunes; however doing so showed me that all of them were without doubt great guys, they just have grown up with tough starts. This reality made me appreciate the work LYBRO was doing all the more and was the reason that I used most of my time there with LYBRO.
Two weeks went by in very much the flash of an eye simply because I was so busy getting involved with as much as possible. The Youth Clubs and Drama sessions that I helped with were really good because I met a wide range of people. The Drama workshops with Peter in particular were really enjoyable and seemed very successful. Having done these I think I now appreciate more the benefits that drama can have in all forms of social work.
The biggest thing that I learnt I think has to be how to listen. I was in an environment whereby I was relatively inexperienced and had little prior skills to help with projects such as LYBRO. This inexperience however was in hindsight brilliant because it meant I was able to learn a new set of skills by taking in and learning from people that knew. Helping out with LYBRO gave me a good opportunity to see various different ways of engaging youths. These will all be useful ideas and skills back home in any environment.
Most of my insights were taken from Tony Walsh. His ability to work with the boys often when things werenÃ¢€â„¢t going all too smoothly was impressive to see. It was clear that the boys learnt a lot from both him and the entire LYBRO team including Carl, Ryan, Dave and Kieth along with Anne Marie.
What I enjoyed most
For me the best part about my CAP, as I have already mentioned, was the people. Their attitude to life in general was amazing and made every moment enjoyable. I know that because of them I will be returning to Liverpool at some point in the near future. Being able to tag along to local basketball training sessions was great fun, even if I was outclassed! Even so having the chance to meet again another group of people allowed me to make friends that I will see in the future. This was a highlight of my CAP, being able to meet and make friends with people I would otherwise have not met had I not had the CAP opportunity. Working in the community café for two days was really good, even if it was pretty tiring and involved mostly washing up given how poor my cooking skills are! IÃ¢€â„¢ve always enjoyed travelling and visiting new places, so going to Liverpool which is in many ways very different from home was always going to be enjoyable. However it was even more so because of how great the people at the Centre were in explaining things about Liverpool and showing me around the city as a whole. Tony especially looked after me well and helped me get a great sense of the city and life in Liverpool. It meant I left with a far better picture of the community and the area that I would have otherwise. This was very important I think in helping me understand the issues and problems that are in Liverpool. All problems have their root causes and so being able to start to understand the causes whilst also seeing the results gave me a great chance to see things in a less naive and blinkered way.
For me one of the best things about my CAP was beginning to see solutions being put into place for problems. The work at LYBRO was great to see and be a part of because it taught me a lot. The work that the Centre does in all its projects is phenomenal and being a part of that, even for a short while was what I enjoyed most.
What I have taken away with me.
From my CAP I think I have taken away a lot of things. Most of all I think that my CAP reminded me how much great work is being done in centres like Centre 63 and has revived my own aims in the work I do back home. Seeing the work at the Centre reminded me how a lot can be achieved so long as people are working in the same direction and share the same aims. These are lessons that have given me a new set of goals and ways to achieve goals when I get back to school with the community work that I am involved in there. I think that itÃ¢€â„¢s hard to really pin down the exact lessons or ideas that I left my CAP with. I think simply the experience of meeting so many good people and listening to them was the most important thing that I have left my CAP with and those are the things that I will hold on to in the future.