Back in May 2021, we hired three new roles under the Kickstart Scheme. One of these was Grace, and she joined our involvement and community development team. We spoke to her about her time here at Selwood Housing and her plans for the future.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you got involved in the Kickstarter programme?
So I was working at the beginning of the year in a chip shop, but it just wasn't for me. I wasn't happy and felt like I could do more with my life. Then I saw that they had opportunities in different organisations and found the involvement and community role. I have always been quite an outspoken, bubbly, involved person, so I went for it and luckily got it. I've always wanted to get into charity work, so this was the perfect starting point.
How have you found your time with Selwood Housing?
I love the opportunities and how I've been able to get involved with the community. I've had a great team; my manager has been great and really good for me. A large part of my role was going out and seeing what opportunities were out there for the general public. Luckily it's started to open back up now, but before involvement and communities wasn't really a thing because it had been shut down for so long.
What kind of skills has this opportunity given you?
I'd say I'm way more organised than I was. I'm not quite there yet but definitely more organised than I was. Having to plan your days and execute a before and after, especially for me. I've also completed a diploma in Community Development and Level 1 Housing Development. Yes, so I've managed to do quite a few cool things. Never thought I'd be able to get a diploma in my time but there we go – it's happened. So I thank them for that.
What's been your favourite thing about the last 6 months?
I'd say going to see the events and things we've helped out as an organisation start up again. Seeing the children perform at Starry Eyes I'd say is my favourite. But then again, Trowbridge Future do a Kindness Café which is really sweet. Every couple of months they have fish and chips and discuss their loved ones and who they've lost. Dementia groups and all sorts of stuff. And then the community fridges is another thing I find endearing. Sometimes they are not even collecting food for themselves, they are collecting food for their elderly neighbours.
You have mentioned Starry Eyes, can you tell us more about this project?
Starry Eyes is a monthly talent show, which funnily enough I went to as a kid. We went through the grants and had some trouble with getting into the bandstand but local businesses brought materials to get it fixed up in time. So I went out to the public and created some social media pages to promote the project.
You also mentioned Trowbridge Futures Kindness Café and Fridges. Are there any other projects with them you have been involved in?
They run 3 Youth Sessions in Seymore, Longfield and Studley green. There they do anything from making sun captures to tie-dying t-shirts and carving pumpkins. They also just sit having a general chat with the kids and see what activities they've done before and anything they would like to do. It's been a great experience and that's what I'm going on to do as a Level 2 Health and Social youth worker. So I've loved it – they are such a welcoming and kind group of people.
What are your future plans?
I am going into a youth apprenticeship with Trowbridge Futures, then after I can hopefully go into the community side. For now, I'm going to do health and social care and then hopefully broaden my horizons with charity work and then see how far I can go with that. I'd love to go into schools to help children and give them some knowledge to stay in school. I'm hoping I can still work with Selwood from Trowbridge Futures. But it’s a great opportunity and won't be completely out of touch with Selwood which I'm excited about as I will miss it. It has been fun. I just want to say a huge thank you to Selwood really to give me the opportunity to experience this. It could have been anywhere so glad it was Selwood.
Best of luck for the future Grace and thank you for all your hard work during your Kickstarter placement!