Elise and Volunteering for Children and Young People’s Participation Scheme

19/09/2015

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Hello, my name’s Elise. I have lived in Cambridge now for 17 years. I went to the Manor School (now known as North Cambridge Academy). I used to come to the youth club at Brown’s Field and Paula Bishop (ChYpPS-Children and Young People’s Service Manager) had told me about the apprenticeship and I had decided to go for it as it is a great opportunity for me.

I have been with ChYpPS since March 2015. ChYpPS stands for Children and Young People’s Participation Scheme; we work with children and young people of all ages across Cambridge, organizing activities in local neighbourhoods in response to need. I mainly work with the children under 5 years doing all sorts of things with them. I also have other groups with older children doing lots of different activities with them such as den building, whistle making and lots of arts and crafts. One of my responsibilities is on a group called Thursdays Together. I have to plan and make an activity for the under 5’s based on a theme for that week and get involved with them.

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I really enjoyed the summer and some of the training it was interesting and helpful and can also be quite fun. Darsham (training for two days) was a good experience and was good as we all worked together. During the summer Cambridge City Council fund a programme of events for children and families who live and play in Cambridge called Summerdaze; ChYpPS helps orchestrate and run these events. Summerdaze was the thing I have enjoyed the most since I’ve been here. It was all very good and very busy, lots of great things were organised for all the families to come along and do. I liked working with children under 5 years throughout it all.

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If you wanted to volunteer or apply for an apprenticeship I would advise to look confident and try ask simple questions. If you don’t know how to apply just go into the library in Grande Arcade 3rd floor there are a couple of ladies who are right at the back who help you and show you how to do things and give you great advice on how to apply and things you could say. They have been a great help to me.

ChYpPS make a difference because some families can’t get to some of these activities because they are too far or they are teenagers and are not allowed to go far, the parents may not have a car because they can’t afford one. We do lots of activities around the city for local children so that everyone can join in and they get to have fun just like others. The ChYpPS even has its own play boat; it’s a wide beam narrowboat that allows children, young people, families and community groups to take part in innovative activities along the River Cam. There is also the ChYpPS Scrapstore which provides a source of recycled materials for children and young people to use in art, craft and play activities.

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If there were no money restrictions it would be great to put a few more Community Centres around the City and be able to have more workers so that everyone can go to a local Community Centre and be able to play pool or be able to just go out with their friends and be able to do activities with their friends. It would also be good if there could be more big events, not just in the summer holidays because it brings more children and families to our sessions and for more families to be welcomed into our community.

I like living in Cambridge because I am able to go to different places like Orchard Park skate park and Jesus Green skate ramps, because they are all spread around and everyone can use them there’s not just one skate ramp around the city there is a wide variety of them. Anyone is welcome to use them and kids from all over the city can come over and meet new people. I like how you can see lots off young people going to these places having fun using scooters or BMX’s. They are all great sports to take up and more and more children are starting to pick them up and enjoy it.

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My favourite, free thing to do in Cambridge is to hang around with my mates on skate parks and being able to do the sports I like doing with my mates. I also like going to parks and playing football with my friends or playing football matches against other teams. Fun fact about me is that I broke my knee jumping off a picnic bench jumping over people’s heads.

A personal ambition for me is to either continue working with ChYpPS/under-fives in a nursery or start playing sports again and hopefully become a physical education teacher or a coach for different sports.

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