By Serena Lola
Today on the 23rd September 8 members of Heston West Big Local went to the Local Trust Young People Make A Difference event where many organisations juts like ours gathered together for a day of bonding, having fun and learning about other volunteers like us. After an hour journey in a cab we finally arrived at Lambourne End Centre for Outdoor Learning and it was nothing like I expected the event would be. We were given a warm welcome and settled in before being put into groups and set off for some team building activities, which were really fun. The first activity for my group was we had a big ditch in which we had to get across without touching the bottom of the ditch and we only had 2 planks of wood. After a little conversation we went straight into it and managed to do it pretty well with only a couple of little screams! Just like this activity we managed to get through all of them pretty quick and had lots of laughs along the way and from observing the other groups they were having a great time as well working together and enjoying themselves. After a fun morning of activities we returned back to base and our lovely instructors read out the rules each team had made and we had a giant list including “don’t steal the pens” and “no mobile phones during activities”
Our own group then gave an inspiring speech about what we have done and how much of journey it has been for them, which was really amazing; we also filmed the whole thing. We then were moved into another room where another Big Local group from Hackney shared with us what they’ve done which was also inspiring and amazing to see what they’ve done to their community and it even gave us ideas for what we can do to make our area better. When all the inspiring talk was done we all enjoyed a great BBQ that was made for us along with pasta and salad and this really gave us a chance to talk to each other and just learn a bit more about one another. This was really important to spreading the message that young people’s voices need to be heard and even Big Local representative Sian Penner agrees as she said, “It was a brilliant day and I think more people should give time to listen to more young people”
Anjali Kumar, Simran Bangar, Abbie McFerran, Juhi Kumra, Megha Dahdrai and Serena Lola from Heston West Big Local Youth Action Team presented at the event.
We then proceeded to take part in one of two workshops I chose to go to the Social enterprise workshop in which I learnt a lot about what social enterprising is and what the group had actually done in their area, we eve heard some of their journeys and stories about volunteering and how they’ve created an enterprise called FREEDOM-E which was astonishing to see how much they’ve accomplished especially with primary school kids.
Then it was back to more fun activities, which ranged from things like archery and fencing to caving! We all picked our activity and headed off for some more fun. Id picked archery, which was really good and it was full of laughs and jokes and a bit of failing! We even had competition within the groups and other challenges one, which included balloons that was slightly deceiving. Also from what I saw and heard the other groups had a great time as well in their activities. Even the instructors thought today was a good day as Andrew (one of the activity instructors) said “It was a fun enjoyable time had by all”
Once that had all finished we headed back to the main hall to get to know each other’s organisations a bit more with a fun activity of choosing random postcards which represent us as a group which I found pretty interesting as at first glance all of them seemed irrelevant to us but by looking closer there were many interpretations to be found such as a all the colours representing us as a unity of all different types of people. I thought this was a really good exercise for really trying to understand what it is that we do as volunteers.
Today was an exciting day out for some of our big local volunteers and many other Big Local organisations from around the country. It was informative, inspirational and fun day and also something we would love to do again to do again; it was a huge success!
Serena Lola, 15 years old
Heston West Big Local Volunteer
Big thanks to Local Trust, Vicky Tedder, Wendy Sugarman, Sian Penner and staff at the Lambourne Outdoor Centre for Learning in Romford for organising a brilliant day out for our young people.
Photo credit: Vicky Tedder.