I want to tell you about what’s going on in Warrington, as it really is very exciting and it’s all about interacting, understanding, communicating and making connections.
Warrington youth club are volunteering for us to help promote MacIntyre and raise awareness of how we support people. The group is made up of 50 young people aged 16-17 who chose to volunteer for us after visiting services and meeting some people we support. We were chosen from 6 other organisation in the town by the members of the group. When they came to visit and find out more about us we split them up into 4 groups sending one to each of the following:
- Victoria Park (gardening)
- the Gateway Café
- the new Art Gallery
- the Learning Centre.
The group of eight people who came to the Learning Centre on that initial visit were just fantastic; full of life and enthusiasm. After Arthur and Natalie, who use the Learning Centre, and I explained what goes on here in Warrington and who MacIntyre is I stood back and the whole pottery group explained more and more and just didn’t stop talking! The young people were really interested and asked so many questions.
Then one member of the youth group asked Natalie if she was signing. As well as talking to everyone Natalie was using Makaton to help the group, as it’s what we do at the beginning of the pottery session. Natalie proudly announced it was not just signing, but Makaton that she was using, and explained how it helps people and why it if different to British Sign Language. With this the youth group where desperate to know more so Arthur and Natalie began to teach the group lots of signs which brought a real buzz to everyone.
Ideas then sprung up as to how the youth group could help us! They wanted to raise awareness of all MacIntyre services, but also to learn a few words of Makaton which they could share and promote in Warrington town centre.
The group have so much energy! They have been out every day for the past week with one more week to go to help us on their project. They have been holding stalls, Flash Mobs around town and demonstrating their skills in Makaton to the pubic, as well as volunteering to help support people in sessions which they can not get enough of.
The interactions between the young people and everyone at the Learning Centre have been so heart warming with lots of people spending time on a one to one basis, really getting to know and understand one another. On Friday Natalie and some other people who use the Learning Centre are going into town where the group’s main event will be taking place. They are going to help man our stall along with the youth club who have organised all of this.
I believe what I witnessed here at the Learning Centre on their very first visit is still felt. The young people are continuing to pop in and help out in whatever way they can. I wish I had the energy they have!
They have in a short space of time brought a new lease of life with them, with their energy and enthusiasm which is felt and appreciated by so many.
Head of Service
Warrington Learning Centre