young man writing on a piece of paper

This summer I was once again given an amazing opportunity by The Children’s Society to work on a scheme to help four fellow young people with disabilities. 

The young people had assembled to discuss budgeting, conversation skills, interview skills and confidence – things that they found difficult and they wanted to work on. Our weekly sessions culminated with a trip to Blackpool, organised by the young people with the support of The Children’s Society. 

Liam Mackin sitting, reading a document in BrailleI was happy to join the team and helped organise activities to encourage the young people to participate and improve the skills on which they wanted to work. I was also happy that the project had been selected – it was funded by The Children’s Society’s Pot of Gold scheme, which allows young people to plan and organise projects. 

Meeting young people’s aims

I formed a strong bond with the young people, all of whom it was a joy to work with. We started each session with a small 'ice-breaker' activity to relax the group and encourage interaction. 

This was followed by a group discussion on the week’s topic. This allowed us to assess the confidence and ability of the young people so that we were able to adapt our sessions to their needs and see the effects of the session, ensuring that we were reaching our aims. 

We often used techniques such as role play or paired simulated activities and conversations to create situations which the young people found difficult and to challenge them to attempt things which they found difficult in a safe environment. 

Helping build young people’s confidence

I felt that the young people improved immensely and were certainly much more confident at the final session compared with the first. The young people will all receive an ASDAN qualification for their participation which I feel is definitely deserved. 

This was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience for me and I would like to thank The Children’s Society once again for allowing me to have this wonderful opportunity.

What the young people said about the project

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the trip to Blackpool, but the young people have shared their comments from the day.

‘We used problem solving skills to decide which transport to use to Blackpool.’

‘I was pleased with planning of the group, we were planning our Blackpool outing and the cash we’d need.’

‘I am proud that I had lots of confidence to travel to the group by myself and to go up the Blackpool tower even though I’m scared of heights.’

‘I am proud that I went on the rides and up the tower because I found it nerve racking and I faced my fears.’

‘I plan to try and be more confident after today.’

‘This was the best day ever - I really hope we can do something like this again!’

By Liam Mackin, Peer Supporter with our LEAP programme in Leeds

Photographs

A young man who is one of the participants in the workshop writes on a piece of paper

One of the participants writes on a worksheet.

Paper that young people wrote on, summarising what they covered in the session, including looking at the person who is talking, asking questions and telling stories

A summary of the topics covered during one of the sessions, including:

  • 'Look at the person who is talking'
  • 'Topics that we linked'
  • 'Be interested in what someone's saying'
  • 'Ask somone if you don't know about a topic'
  • 'Ask questions'
  • 'Add in a sense of humour'
  • 'Telling stories and sharing expereinces about funny memories'

 

Read more

 

By Liam Mackin - Young Person
Liam Mackin
- Guest blogger

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