Written by Katie Spencer-Jefferies; Play Gloucestershire, UK
This has been our first Erasmus+ project so we have nothing to compare it with only our perception of what a European Partnership could be. I feel that as a group we have missed out on much of the interpersonal and social connections that would have happened had we been able to meet in person, learn about each other and the work that is done within each other’s organisations. However, the members of the group are so professional and kind-hearted that, though disappointing to do meetings and training online instead of in person, there has been a great working relationship and amazing partnership work.
In the UK we have been fortunate that government restrictions have not hindered our face-to-face delivery of the training or the young people’s participation in the placement element. As we work outside, we have been able to deliver both training and offer placements to the group of PAClife volunteers. Learning what the young people’s strengths have been has meant that we have been able to signpost them towards activities that best suit them; the majority have volunteered alongside our Play Sessions, however some have done additional volunteering like supporting us in making promotional videos.
It has been amazing to see the difference in the young people from before the PAClife training to their time on placement. It was even better to hear in their own words at their graduation how being a part of the PAClife training has supported them, boosted their confidence and what they have been doing since that they would never have dreamed of doing before. The graduation was a great milestone event for them to celebrate their achievements together.
We will look at using elements of the PAClife training program in future training that we deliver.