Hi Francesca. It’s lovely to meet with you, please start us off by telling us a bit about what you do at The Door.
OK, so I am a Sessional Youthworker and I started at The Door in September 2021. My job is to be in youth club sessions to support both the young people that come in and the other youthworkers on shift.
Great, so what are youth clubs like?
To people that don’t know anything about youthwork, I’ve always described them as an after school club that isn’t at school. But that doesn’t really capture it. It’s a safe place that bridges the gap between school and home. Giving young people somewhere they feel they can be themselves and have fun, but with plenty of adults on hand to keep them safe.
What do you get up to in sessions?
There’s less structure than school and a bit more than home, so the young people are in charge of what they do and we follow their lead. So one week I might be playing pool and Fifa on the Xbox then next week I’m painting and doing craft or just chatting with the young people.
Oh and there’s often some kind of food or drink on the go. The young people love hot chocolate at the moment, and pizza is always a winner!
We also love to mark special occasions with the young people. Like cake for birthdays and decorating the centres. Which the young people get involved in too of course.
You’re making me hungry! Other than the cake what is your favourite thing about youthwork?
Well of course the cake but, if I had to pin it down, I love seeing just how engaged young people can get into sessions and how much value the clubs give to them. All the effort they put in so they can come along to a youth club session is a real testament to The Door and the team.
Seeing how brave and resilient our young people can be is amazing, it has been so rewarding to see.
So that’s the best bit, what has been more challenging?
Before The Door, I’d just finished a Childcare and Education Diploma. During my diploma I spent a lot of time working in primary schools. Starting at The Door I found a lot of the skills I had learnt around managing behaviour weren’t transferable, so this was an opportunity to develop a whole new set of skills. This involved learning from the other youthworkers and the training I’ve received in how to tackle conflict while maintaining mutual respect and allowing everyone’s voice to be heard.
That’s great, now time for some fun stuff; back to food first of course.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of time what would it be?
Oh, it’s embarrassing but it has to be Macaroni Cheese! It has to be cooked right though, not too runny and with enough cheese on top.
Do you follow any sports teams?
I’m not into sports as much as I was when I was younger! But it has always been Arsenal football team and being half South African the national rugby team the Springboks!
And finally do you have an inspirational quote you would like to share?
A quote from Nelson Mandela:
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
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