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Iain on the ball

Thursday 18th October 2012

The Trust is continuing to have a positive impact in local communities and recently helped one young person work his way into employment. 

Iain Ball impressed whilst volunteering at the Trust and was subsequently offered a more permanent role. 

We asked Iain to write an article about his experience, which can be found below.

Having studied at university and gained a 2.1 BA Hons Degree in Fine Art, there was a point where having completed some short contract jobs I found myself out of work.

I saw an advertisement at my local Jobcentre to achieve an FA Level One qualification with Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT). I have been keen on football and sports generally and had been involved with CACT in the past, as I use to support my brother who has learning difficulties, with their inclusion football sessions. I enrolled onto the course and after passing the Level One I applied for an apprenticeship role with CACT.

I was successful and following some voluntary sessions, started work as a CACT apprentice coach. Shortly into my apprenticeship with CACT I was approached by Andy Carpenter (NCS Coordinator) with an opportunity to take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) residential that CACT delivered in the summer. This involved spending two weeks with year 11 students from the Kent area, on a leadership and social bonding course, which led on to devising a Social Action Project Plan (SAP) for their local area. This was to continue after the two weeks residential with regular meetings, planning schedules at a local site as small groups and be achieved by delivering their SAP as a community project.

On the residential course there was a wide variety of people as both participants and staff. Many physical and demanding activities were part of the daily structure of the NCS scheme such as rock climbing, caving, canoeing and abseiling just to name a few. These were often in groups and teams, which lead to co-operation and communication playing a pivotal role in succeeding at the activity (hence the leadership and teamwork elements). Being involved, encouraging the participants and being able to see the developments from both task to task and from one week to the next, in both activity structure and socially with one another, sparked a real interest and was something I wanted to be more involved with.

The two weeks spent with the youngsters had lots of comments involving moments of pride and accomplishment. Beforehand many activities were met with ‘I can’t or I don’t want to. However with encouragement and reassurance from their fellow classmates and new friends many activities were ending with ‘Wow, I can’t believe I just did that’ and with positive attitudes and high camaraderie. There was great feedback from the youngsters and was taken over to their SAP meetings with high ambitions and high energy. Likewise I received some great feedback of the organisation and my involvement with the NCS scheme. From this I enquired about doing additional work with CACT across the Youth Hubs they manage on behalf of Royal Greenwich Council. I really enjoy working with young people and have worked across two of the hubs at Woolwich Common and Hawksmoor in Thamesmead. I have built relationships with young people attending the sessions and am encouraging the ones who are the correct age to attend the next NCS residential in October. This can lead the young people involved onto a similar course I have taken via CACT, and with some hard work and dedication they can gain leadership skills and take it further toward education or employment.

The NCS and Youth Centre work has been great for me. It really opened me up to something I did have a general interest in, in both teaching and youth work. It helped me gain some great experience and learn some new lessons. From my studies I had thought I would go on, at a later date to teach art, but the way things were going soon after graduating from university it seemed less likely. The work I have done with CACT, the Youth Centre and NCS has helped me gain some vital experience to take further with me. Initially I plan being involved with more youth work, which could lead on to bigger and better things and potentially to teaching.

We are sure you agree this is a tremendous reflection on the partnership work that goes on within the Trust. Credit should go to the NCS and Royal Greenwich for providing a pathway for pro- active young people like Iain and above all full credit to Iain himself.