Taylor Lawrence at the Isle of Man Children's Centre
From the city of Liverpool to the village of Bride on the Isle of Man, my CAP's could not have been more different, but never did I think that I would learn so much about different places, people and myself.
From the first day it was clear that this experience was going to be new to me. After being picked up by Nigel from the airport we headed to his house. The drive across the mountain road (which was vaguely recognisable from the tt) left me confused about if I should feel nauseous due to the 100ft drop to my left or amazed by the stunning views that I was presented with. This pretty much sums up my entire experience, an extremely scary one, but one which was great fun and one which I got a lot out of. The welcome that I received from his family made me feel as if I was royalty that had come for the upcoming Tynwald day but the seismic difference between the way they lived their lives and the way I lived mine would take me a few days to adjust to. This was not the only adjustment I would make during my time. Moving from the extremes of rural Nigel's to urban Chrissy's was another huge change. This was, again, made all the easier by the treatment I received during my time with Chrissy, the fish and chips and ice cream on Peal beach may also have helped.
My time on the farm went far beyond what I imagined could be done on a community farm. From digging holes for a new polytunnel one day, to going on a gnome hunt with a school group the next. Whilst these were both very valuable experiences I feel that I learnt the most from working with the inclusion group and making signs. Inclusion is a group of young adults with a mixture of additional needs that come to the farm on a regular basis in order to gain qualifications that will hopefully lead to employment. Previously I have worked with children but never with people with additional needs. I consequently learnt many new skills about how to approach and interact with people who have these additional needs. The thing that I will take most from inclusion is to be extremely grateful for what I have and to always be happy. One of the young adults received a work offer at a canteen whilst I was visiting, the joy that it brought to him was truly incredible and I can only wish that I can half as grateful for the numerous number of wonderful opportunities that I have, including my time with RANK. I also spent a number of days with school groups constructing wooden signs for the upcoming open day. This clearly shows the diversity of things that I did during my placement but to be able to give something back to the charity was extremely satisfying and rewarding. On my final day at the farm I was lucky enough to spend the morning with MOBEX jumping off cliffs into the salmon pool and the sea, a fitting end to what had been an incredible couple of weeks.
During my two weeks I was lucky enough to have done numerous activities outside of the farm. During my time with Nigel I was able to experience all four corners of the island thanks to a barbecue at the Point of Ayre (the most northernly point), a cinema visit to Douglas and a motorbike ride which enabled me to take in the stunning views of what else there was to see of the island. Then with Chrissy I was able to take in an alternative look at the Island. The festivities of Tynwald day is something that will remain long in the memory (not because of the two hour wait for a burger!!!). My Grandad has always been a huge motorbike fan so to see the southern 100 was a great way for me to connect with one of the great passions of my family and the island.
My time with the children's centre was one of the most challenging and incredible experiences I have ever had. I have taken so much from my time there and can only thank both RANK, for presenting me with the wonderful opportunity, and the children's centre, for my amazing few weeks (and for putting up with my southern accent). I feel so fortunate to have met so many wonderful people with special thanks to Chrissy, Nigel and his family who made the experience so amazing. My report could have easily been 3000 words long such was the enjoyment I took from my two weeks. I can only hope that RANK and the children's centre continue their incredible work and that many more people will have the pleasure of doing what I just did.