On Wednesday 23rd May I took the train down to Birmingham to meet other staff and volunteers who together represented the Waterways Action Squad and the work that they have done and achieved over the last few years.
The Waterways Renaissance Aw
ards were in their 10th year and Waterways Action Squad had been nominated for the award for ‘Education and Learning’ and, the brand new category for 2012, ‘Volunteering.’
Emma, Hazel and Lucie, Waterways Action Squad staff engaged huge numbers of young people with their local canals over the life of the project. The application and judging process for the award had been long and there was a great deal of worthy competition of a high standard and so we were all very excited and nervous to see what the outcome was going to be.
When we got there we were greeted and give name badges with our table number on and spent some time in the Lobby of Birmingham ICC – which was massive – chatting to other nominees and representatives of Waterways projects and sites all over England.
There were also awards for Area-Based Regeneration, Community, Design & Construction, Flood Risk Management, Historic Environment, Innovation, Natural Environment, Partnership, Recreation & Tourism and Strategy & Masterplanning. So there were viagra pills loads of anxious people awaiting news.
We were seated in a room with tables set out beautifully with plates and cutlery, table decorations and center pieces, water and wine. After everyone was seated we watched a video message from Tony Hales, the Chairman of British Waterways, which opened the awards with an explanation, kind words and humor. Before the announcement of the winners, runners up and commendations, we were served a lovely three course meal.
Then the ceremony began. It was lovely to see all of the other brilliant projects that had been taking place over the last year, all over England and involving so many different people. There were things mentioned that I had never even thought of before, like flood risk management and all the components involved with that, it was interesting to think about the work that goes into looking after wildlife, preventing floods, tourism and construction and generally keeping the environment and the community around it safe and looking nice.
In the Education and Learning Category the Waterways Action Squad were commended which came as a pleasant surprise. The award that everyone had been waiting for – Volunteering – was eventually announced and the Waterways Action Squad WON! There was a big round of applause and Emma, Hazel and the volunteer representatives went up to the stage to receive the award and have pictures taken.
The rest of the evening was exchanging congratulations, talking and music from the Waterways Action Squad table and their fiddle and guitar! It was a really enjoyable evening and when the ICC closed
many of the parties went on to the local canal strip to carry on the celebrations. Birmingham canal at night is stunning and with the weather on the turn, getting warmer, it was like being in a different country.
The whole evening was a complete success and I had a great night. Emma has asked me to thank the judges Bob Watson (MBE) and Kyle Alexander (OBE) who were so supportive when they met us, both the Waterways Trust and British Waterways for allowing this innovative project to take place, Bank of America and V who’s funding made it all possible and most of all- a HUGE THANKS to all of the young people who have been so involved and helped drive the project to success.
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The latest viagra without prescription project – Operation mural.
I was very much looking forward to this project because it was something that could complement the brand new media suite soon to be in use at the museum.
After getting some Ideas from the young volun
teers I had a better Idea of what to put in (and what not to put in…) the general consensus was that the colours should be bright and not to try and be hip or cool or have any stereotypical graffiti.
The theme of the media suite as a whole was blue so this made it easier to think of a lot of things that were blue and the inspiration being the canals, water, sky etc. made it quite easy. Then to keep it on the traditionalside, the canal boat section was in the red green and yellow.
ainting of it was a lot harder than I anticipated. Luckily the base coat had already been put on so just needed an extra 2 coats of white then to dry and it was ready for the design to be sketched on. Trying to get it equal and have straight lines was interesting, I hadn’t thought how long it would take, luckily the room that I had started the painting in had some cardboard Rosie and Jim boards which served very well as a ruler and the paint pot lids for any circles.
Then the painting started and it chopped and changed as it went and got darker and the colours would dry and the new mixes would be different. Anyway, after two days of painting, drying and outlining, it was finished.
This was a fantastic project am I am so lucky
Last Friday bright and early we visited the Anderton Boat lift in Northwich. I had never even heard of Northwich before and whenever I saw it written I had always just assumed that it was Norwich. We were going over to work with some NEET young A
dults as part of the 24:24 Project, to make a short video diary film, go to a garden centre and to do some surveying of the Anderton Boat lift site for the rebranding of the company Waterways Trust.
The 3 volunteers involved in the 24:24 project were doing 24 hours a week of volunteering for 24 weeks to gain skills and experience in fields of work that they were interested in being employed or training in. They were James, Jacob and Sally and they were lovely. since being on the project they were all working toward NVQs which they seemed very positive about and wanting to move on to the next level and then into a job.
We went to the garden centre for lunch and to talk about what activity they wanted to do as a benchmark day on the project, something for team building, physical exercise or practical and something fun. After many different options layed out on the table we are planning a trip to go gorge walking which involves lots of water, rocks and jumping into water from the rocks.
We then had a walk around the garden
centre. The twins James and Jacob had to learn nearly 40 plant names as part of thier NVQ so it gave them a chance to do a bit of studying, plant names are really complecated and a lot of them sound very similar, there are lots of -ium and -us and -es and -ium. I also got the chance to talk to Sally who was working in the customer service, reception AND cafe. She seemed to be loving every second of it and later staff at the boat lift raved about her and her hard work and the twins and all they had been doing for the surrounding environment at the museum.
It was inspiring and also incredibly frustrating that they were doing such a great job for free, there was no moaning at all about their jobs and they were so positive about everything. It just goes to show, for many young people who aren’t in work, it isn’t because they’re lazy or don’t want to do anything and live for free. These guys were giving thier time and bags of energy to the jobs
they were doing, a lot of the time it is just about not being lucky in finding jobs or breaking out of the stigma placed on so many young people, why would an employer want to take a young adult into thier employ when they see them as being tarnished with the same brush: Idle, unenthusiastic, agressive etc and really for a lot of young people it’s hugely to do with confidence. The confidence to outline your credentials and highlight your good points, smile and not be nervous… it’s something that isn’t focused on enough in schools and education, confidence and communication to build contacts and experience.
This is why projects like 24:24 are so important. James, Jacob and Sally all suffered with confidence issues which were improving so quickly as a result of taking part in the programme, work wise they were completely above average it was just about self esteem.
It made me think really hard about how many of us as human beings can be crippled by a personal issue such as self confidence, not believing we’re good enough. So many people must feel like this every day and sometimes when finally you have the confidence to apply for that job or go for an interview and then you get knocked back, the confidence you’ve worked so hard for goes back to being low.
It’s Important to try and understand that sometimes people young and old aren’t in employment for many different reasons, not just because they’re lazy or unskilled, a lot of the time is the total opposite.
After making the film which was loads of fun we said our goodbyes and went home, expecting to meet again at the gorge adventure. This was a very eye opening day for me and it was a privalige to meet such hardworking people.