Young people enjoy work experience day at the Children's Commissioner's office and at our headquarters
'I've loved every little bit, I wouldn't change anything' was Lewis's verdict when the train pulled into York station after an action-packed two days in London.
Lewis is a young person who is supported by our PACT (Participation, Advocacy, Consultancy and Training) programme, which supports disabled children. He was joined by Cas who is also supported by PACT.
Their trip had included work experience at the office of the Children's Commissioner and at the headquarters of The Children's Society; an all-dancing, all-singing, all-moonwalking West End show and a bird's-eye view of the capital from the London Eye.
The journey had begun nearly a year before when Matthew, Jamie and Ruth from the Reaching Out Fund met the Children's Commissioner at a conference in York and challenged her to find inclusive work experience opportunities in her office. She agreed and eventually a date was set for two young people to travel to her office in London.
Lewis and Cas were selected to go. Their first job was helping Shaila, Participation Adviser, and Anna, from the communications department, with their research into how to get more disabled young people involved in Takeover Day, when young people work with adults and take part in decision-making.
Interviewing the Children's Commissioner
Lewis and Cas also got the chance to interview Dr Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner.
Cas said, 'I was a little bit nervous about meeting the commissioner. She seemed strict but she wasn't really. She told us to get in touch with our councillors and our MP if we wanted things to change.
'I would like to see more activities for young people in Tang Hall where I live because it's hard for some people to get into town to do things in the evening.'
Across town at The Children's Society's head office, Lewis and Cas's opinions were also in demand. After a tour of the building with Lauren Manister, Executive Assistant, they checked out the new website for young people, www.thekidszone.org.uk, and explained what they would like to see on there.
Meeting our Chief Executive
They then had a meeting with Bob Reitemeier, The Children's Society's Chief Executive.
'I didn't think he would be like that,' said Lewis after the meeting. 'He’s got a difficult job to do so I thought he would be very serious, but he wasn't.'
Lewis and Cas told Bob about the volunteering that they’d done while he gave them a brief overview of his career.
After all their hard work Lewis and Cas deserved some relaxation. Thriller Live!, a theatre show about Michael Jackson, had them dancing in their seats. The next morning they were on top of the world, 135 metres in the air on the London Eye. The only disappointment for Lewis was not being able to pick out Wembley Stadium.
And Cas's view on the trip – 'I found it all very intriguing and interesting.'
If you'd like to find out more about the work PACT do, you can find out on our website.
By Carole Jackson, PACT