Wednesday, 30 September 2009

#3 Do a project with the Tuesday Club at the Camden Society

Apologies for my complete lack of communication recently. What do you mean, you didn't notice? Oh.

So I have been sidetracked - by list-type and non-list-type stuff, admittedly. One of the huge things I did recently was help organise Twestival Local London, a big fundraising event organised by people via Twitter. This event was for the NSPCC, and their Childline helpline particularly. I volunteered because I like to help, and I thought it would be a good experience. And it was. Elizabeth Varley, the main organiser, was a particular inspiration - calm, unrelentingly upbeat and energetic, really knew her stuff and thought on her feet and generally pulled together a great event on practically nothing. I hope we shall remain friends.

In fact, I should probably write a whole post about Twestival at some point, as I learned an awful lot from it.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. The point (YES, I HAVE ONE) is that I have ticked another thing off my list! For the past six weeks or so, I have been helping out with the Monday Club at the Camden Society. Yes, I know I said the Tuesday Club, but they're the same thing only on different nights, and they needed more help with the Monday Club.

The Camden Society provides services for adults and children with learning difficulties around London. The Monday Club is a social group that provides company, activities, fun and learning in a safe, accepting environment. It's lovely being involved with such a worthwhile cause.

The first few weeks were really daunting. I just sort of hovered round the edges while the bedlam went on around me. And it is bedlam. There's about 20-30 adults of varying learning difficulties, ranging from the functioning autistic guys to the wheelchair-bound, non-verbal people who have their full-time carers with them. We do a range of activities - painting, cooking, watching films, bowling, anything they can do for cheap or free where everyone can be supervised easily.

It's hard work, I'll be honest. It takes all your concentration to make sure no one is hurting themselves, or wetting themselves or stealing anything. But as the weeks progress and they all start trusting me more, I'm starting to feel like a valuable addition to the team. It's still a struggle to get myself up there on a Monday night after a long day at work, but I always enjoy it while I'm there. Plus it's great experience for my Psychology studies, which I start next week. Yep - that's more news, I guess - I'm starting an OU course in Psychology next week, which is both exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. Hopefully by the time this 30th year is up, I will be much closer to doing a job I am suited for. Fingers crossed I can find the time and motivation to fit it all in...