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My Work Experience...Ewan's story

Published on 22 July 2019 02:18 PM

On my first day at Age UK Norwich everyone was really friendly and open, giving off a comfortable atmosphere, allowing me to not feel awkward when trying to start conversations and chat whilst also doing the work I had been set for the day. I had already met Sam, who is the community and neighbourhood support manager as well as just a really nice guy, a few months prior, for a quick description of the job. The new introductions all went smoothly and the staff seemed really happy to see me (Which translated to me enjoying the time I spent around the building for the duration of the week). That aside, it wasn’t all casual conversations, as after meeting the staff I was given a vast amount of information to scan through, including: safety, job descriptions, term definitions, business protocol and much, much more. The day ended with me going on a little excursion with a community outreach officer called Cathy. We had planned to go elsewhere but it ended up being cancelled. So instead, it was decided that we would go to Heartsease to find out some information on the kinds of community events that were held there, as it is one of the areas Age UK Norwich are extending their reach to.

On my second day I had a history walk down king’s street, I met with Cathy whom I had already been acquainted with, around 10:00am, which was when the day began for me, and set straight off to meet my first group supported through Age UK Norwich. We first dropped into the café on King’s street which was the designated meeting area for the activity and started how it often ended, with tea. The walk was full of small chats and lots of interesting information provided by the volunteer who was very knowledgeable of the area and was good at catching everyone’s attention. After the walk had finished and before it had started, people found it easy to approach me and spark a conversation that wasn’t forced. They also made sure I wasn’t there idle which I really appreciated as otherwise it could have been very awkward. The last job was to head down to the Eaton park community centre which played out similarly to the first activity but more walking and less history. These experiences made me feel like I was improving my communication skills, boosting my confidence and just gave me some time to talk to people who live and have lived much differently to how I do.

On Wednesday I met Sam at the Age UK Norwich office and walked to the Marion day centre, where I had first been introduced. We were visiting to observe a health dance taster session, to decide whether it should be developed further, if it was sustainable and the participants were enjoying it. The funniest thing was getting involved in the dancing. Luckily we were seated which made it not too embarrassing, though I wasn’t really taking myself seriously and everyone was enjoying themselves. It was also very interesting as I got a chance to see the differences in the people who take part in Age UK Norwich community events, some being fit and healthy as well as talkative, who just want to have a ‘cuppa’ with others their age; getting active in the community. Compared to others who are more dependent on the great staff at Marion, who get cared for and take part in activities all throughout the day. Once I had returned to the office, I was taken to a bowling alley on Dereham road, to meet Stella who I would then meet on Thursday to do some more community activities further solidifying my understanding of managing a group session and trying to get it to be independent amongst the attendees.

Overall, I have really had a brilliant week of work experience amongst some hard working and likeable people. Not to mention my new knowledge of all the variables you have to take into consideration when running a charity focused around outreach and support. I would just like to say thanks to everyone I’ve met throughout my stay, for the hospitality and effort made to make this work. It’s not something I’m soon to forget!

Ewan Cameron-Hughes