Youth Zone at Home: OnSide’s response to Covid-19
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Last week we were lucky to welcome Kayla to the Legacy Youth Zone Team, as she spent the full week with us as part of her work experience.
In her own words, Kayla summarised her week with Legacy:
I am very fortunate to be a part of the Young People’s Development Group with Legacy who helped me to get work experience in their offices.
OnSide is a charity who creates Youth Zones up and down the country; Youth Zones being bigger, better and more productive versions of youth centres. There are currently 10 Youth Zones in the North of the country, but OnSide have recently been in the process of building 3 Youth Zones in boroughs within London- Barnet (Unitas), Barking & Dagenham (Future) and most recently, Croydon (Legacy) where I have been carrying out my work experience for the past week. I have had the pleasure of working with the Legacy team and shadowing the different roles during my placement.
At 10am on Monday morning I arrived at the AMP office unsure of what to expect or who I would meet. As I walked into the building I was met by Lee from HR who greeted me with a lovely smile making me feel comfortable straight away. He took me up to the Legacy office where I was welcomed by the rest of the team: Phil who is an openings manager for OnSide, Jerome who is the Youth Engagement Leader, Lisa who is the volunteer recruiter/staff training manager and Barnabas who is the CEO of Legacy. After meeting the team I sat down with Lee and had a lengthy, fascinating conversation with Lee about his role and responsibilities in operations and his journey to get to where he is now. Lee gave me a simple but educational insight about life in HR which was extremely beneficial for my work in business studies. After this, I assisted Jerome, Phil and Lisa in interviewing candidates for the role of the Senior and Junior Club Lead for Legacy Youth Zone. These job roles are important within the Youth Zone so it was an amazing opportunity to see the process,
The next day, I arrived to the office at 11 unaware of the exciting day ahead. The team was about to meet their counterparts from all of the London Youth Zones. This was the first time that all of the staff members from the Youth Zones were meeting, which was a good opportunity for me as a young person to see who will be working with us young people to make a difference to these London boroughs. We travelled to Angel Square and networked over lunch. It was a good chance to have a conversation with the different personalities and find out about why, how and the journeys they have taken to make them want to work with young people.
We took the train back to Croydon and arrived at the office, I then helped Lisa transform applications to suit individuals who want to volunteer at Legacy Youth Zone. This was an important role as volunteers will make up most of the staff within the Youth Zone, therefore if the application is complicated or off-putting this could lower the number of volunteers that apply to the Youth Zone.
Wednesday was a day full of meetings but also a day where my knowledge expanded on the different services made for young people in Croydon. The BME Forum held a Youth Violence Meeting which Phil, Lisa, Jerome and I attended. This meeting was crowded with different services and organisations which aim to reduce knife crime and youth violence which has been known to be an epidemic within the borough. The meeting was attended by people from places such as; Playplace- a youth centre within New Addington, Endure- A company who mentor young people, Street Doctors- a company who give young people First-Aid training (which could come in handy for a knife crime incidence), the MET Police, and many more.
Andrew Brown, the leader of the BME Forum, organised and hosted the meeting in order for these organisations to update each other on new projects that they are running for young people but also make connections in order to help each other make these projects successful and build bridges for the future.
Later on, Lisa, Phil and I made our way to Selhurst Football Stadium to attend the annual Big Locality Meeting. This was organised by Palace For life Foundation in order to talk about issues on Mental Health, Well-being and Food Poverty amongst young people. Charities such as Off the Record- who offers counselling and mental support for young people and Victim Support- who emotional support and practical support for young people, and many more, attended. The meeting touched on Safeguarding for children and young people and showed what charities are doing for young people who need emotional support within the borough.
Thursday morning I arrived for an early start at 8:30am for a full day of interviewing candidates for the Arts Coordinator and the Head of Sports. We were joined by Izzy from the Croydon Youth Arts Collective and begun at 9:30 with the Arts Coordinator role, who looks over the performing arts and creative arts within the Youth Zone, where we interviewed 3 candidates. The interviews ran from 9:30-12pm where we interviewed highly skilled individuals with distinctive characteristics. We held the interviews for the Head of Sports which we finished at 3.30pm and after a long day, I went home ready for my last day on Friday.
On Friday, I arrived at the office for my last day with the Legacy Team. I was greeted by everyone and had the opportunity to complete a Level 1 course in Safeguarding with children. I completed this within the 2 hour and 30 minutes time bracket and gained a certificate. After lunch I had a talk with the CEO, Barnabas, about my week and to learn about his role within the business and the business’ he worked for before joining the company. After a day of staying in the office, the team gave me a card and a bouquet of flowers to show their appreciation of my week with them.
Over the week I gained rare experience and have enjoyed learning about the different roles here at Legacy. I was intrigued by the balance between Youth Work and Business and am grateful for the increase in knowledge that I gained. My highlights have been the interviews and the meetings because it was nice to see behind the scenes of the months leading up to the Croydon Youth Zone, Legacy.