Being a Communications Volunteer - Day 1 My name is Josie and I am a Communications Volunteer for Medway Youth Trust. Today was my first day on the job and I got the chance to go out and photograph four of the NCS teams throughout Medway to document part of their journey, which then will contribute to their graduation presentation. Team One The first team I went to visit was NCS team one who were at the Chatham Town FC centre in Chatham. Here they were participating/volunteering with the Marks Activity Programme Service (MAPS) which is a service that aims to push those with physical and/or learning disabilities to reach their full potential and this is reached by enabling those involved to make their own decisions. When I arrived I was greeted by Mark of whom is one of the staff that help run the service. He introduced me to some of his service users and explained to me what the service is about and what it’s enabled its users to achieve. Mark seemed very excited and enthusiastic about the service as did the service users. I was shown to the main hall which was a big open area, fitted with a bar where individuals could socialise and participate in social activity or just take some time out/ shelter from the sun if desired. This is where I found the majority of team one. They were openly engaging with the service users socially and this was through multiple actions. Some of the team were sat with individuals talking about their day and others were playing board games with the service users which would help individuals develop their social skills. The service users seemed to really enjoy interacting with the NCS team and I got some really good shots which clearly display the joy the team had brought to them. I then ventured outside to find the rest of the team of whom were also engaging in board games with the service users. Many of them with disabilities such as total loss of hearing and severe learning disabilities, despite these differences the two sides engaged with each over very successfully. The NCS one group then went to have a quick break before getting back to work. After their break the whole team along with some service users gathered in the open playing field to engage in a game of football rounder’s. This game is pretty self-explanatory, its rounder’s but the team kick a ball instead of batting one. During this game everyone really came together to play and socialise and helped the service users complete full runs of the field before throwing their hands in the air and cheering at their achievements. After they finished it was time to leave and visit the next team. Team Eight Next I set off to visit NCS team eight at All Saints Community Centre where they were participating in a community protect. The aim was for the team to help renovate the garden and help with the renovation/ completion of the church cafe. The church was recently given funding to buy a derelict pub which neighboured them and with this they will be able to expand/ improve their services. However this is still being developed and Team eight are helping speed this up, like previous NCS teams that have helped here they have helped with revamping the garden. Today I witnessed and photographed the team sanding down multiple chairs, the purpose of this was to re paint the chairs which would then be placed in the café when finished. The individuals of the team seemed worn out when I arrived but persevered to complete their goal and they put in a fantastic effort. I believe this is an on-going project and I am excited to see their development/ final outcome. The visit wasn’t as long as the first but there’s not much to document when sanding chairs so I am keen to see how they have progressed when I visit them again on Friday. Team Seven Next I went to visit Team 7 at Foundations for Supporting Families Contact Centre in Chatham. The Centre is a registered charity that aims to support Children and their families who are separated either from family breakdown, Local Authority interventions or through adoption. Their goal is to support parents and children with communication, the families' transition through change and contact whatever the reason that separation has occurred, re-uniting families when contact has been lost. The centre is based in Chatham and provides independent supervised contact services when there are risks or a lack of trust or where there has been a long gap in contact. They also provide supported contact where there may have been a gap or lack of a suitable environment for contact to take place. The building is a tall and narrow complex and still has a lot of its original features. It has big bland walls and the contact rooms lack imagination and creativity which can make it an unpleasant facility for all parties involved to be in. But that’s where Team Seven came in. They came to the centre armed with ‘moody blue’ paint with the ambition to change it into a fun and creative environment for children to enjoy quality time with loved ones. When I arrived most of the team had gone out for a well-deserved break but after talking to the team leader I found out that the team wanted to transform the dull, depressing room into an aquatic wonderland. Most of the paint had been applied very professionally to the walls by the team which gave it an ocean feel and I had been told about how they wish to create a wall full of happy ocean wildlife onto the walls including much loved Disney icons such as Nemo. There will also be sensory development on the walls in the form of 3D Jellyfish for the children to interact with. The team also found a way to transform a dull pull out table into something fun! They aim to paint it like a treasure chest and when lifted the underneath of the table is envisioned to look like a chest full of jewels and other shiny goods! Since I am creative I am very enthusiastic about this project and can’t wait to see the finished outcome when I visit next! There are so many ways the group can give this room the life and creativity it needs and I am confident they will fulfil this goal! Team Three And lastly there was NCS Team Three of whom provided much of this afternoon’s entertainment. Here the males of the team and team leaders participated in a leg waxing session to raise money for a fundraising event at Unit One Skate Park in Kent. They were armed with professional waxing kit including a hot wax pot and sticks to apply the wax and of course strips to strip them of their manhood but hey it’s all in the name of charity so it’s really no great loss! I had the great pleasure to witness three lads have their legs waxed, one a team leader, the other two members of team three! And armed with my camera I set off on a mission to capture the pain of these lads not only that but to also document there progress/involvement throughout the event, and this was a mission I completed successfully! Team members took it in turns to apply was to individual’s legs and then got the pleasure to remove the waxing strips two of the three I witnessed let out screams and clenched their fists throughout this process whilst pulling some humorous faces! One even went to the extent of holding team members hands and yelped at even the tiniest amount of wax being applied to the skin. Another team member did not even flinch at the removal of his leg hair of which was rather impressive, all the members I photographed saw there waxing out to the end, the result was they ended up with beautiful smooth legs of which some were not impressed! I was delighted to be able to photograph an event for a great cause and I am sure they will see the loss of their body hair as a great achievement/ contribution to their chosen cause/ charity. So there it is! This was my first day working as a Communications Volunteer with Medway Youth Trust and I am looking forward to coming back and doing more work here! And am rather excited to see how the teams have progressed when I return! Today was very tiring, I was rushed off my feet but kept busy as were the young people involved with NCS but I really enjoyed myself! Josie.