It has been a privilege, as an outsider, to have been part of this team and experience the belonging that only effective team building can bring. From the initial interview with Sarah (Team Leader) I have always felt valued as one of the team. But what a journey!
After only one day on the Introduction day I next found myself on a week’s residential and then on the first day of that; suspended abseiling down a slope, something I thought I could never do because of my extreme fear of heights. The challenges kept on coming with rock climbing, gorge scrambling, orienteering, a night hike and caving. These challenges all jelled the team together, created friendships and trust and gave a firm foundation for the rest of the course. On many occasions I had the benefit of a whole host of “stoppers”; stopping me falling backwards; although in all honesty, I was clinging that tightly to the rock there was little chance of that ever happening. But as a team member and the “old man” of the team all of these lads ensured that I was safe and that I had absolutely no opportunity to “duck out” therefore experiencing the exhilaration of having completed absolutely everything on that week. All of my life I have participated in a lot of outdoor pursuits and still cannot believe that in those four days I achieved everything that I had always avoided. I don’t however want to give a blow by blow account of my involvement over the 12 weeks as it would steal the thunder of the rest of the team. But instead to reflect more on the course overall and share some observations.
There is great depth and breath in the ambitions and expectations of this course. The course educates, informs, challenges and nurtures. It also changes and has changed attitudes and behaviours as it supports but at the same time demands a positive response. It has been a real insight to watch this group all rise to the many challenges, become involved in new activities and experiences as well as becoming motivated to try and move forward. The enthusiasm of the leadership, especially you Sarah, is infectious and the positive “can do” attitude has not only increased confidence, self esteem and motivation but demonstrated that there are real opportunities and real possibilities. The team have successfully interacted with many groups not just on the work placements but within several different communities (residents of a housing association, the elderly at Grundy Day Centre and the general public through the bag packs just to mention a few). They have also lived together in community; worked together, organised and created things together; no mean feat when compared the background of loneliness and isolation often experienced when being long term unemployed. Each one of this team has acquired and demonstrated many skills that employers demand; here I am talking about stick-ability, commitment, loyalty, ability to problem solve, willingness to complete the task and more importantly do that task to the best of their ability. It hasn’t all been plain sailing though, I feel that to state that ‘the course challenges’ is a real underestimation. It presents far more than just challenges. All of us have had to face a few demons, barriers that have previously held us back. But each of the team in turn has dusted themselves down determined to finish the programme and determined to combat those barriers. And here they are now about to share their own journeys.
But before they do and finally it would remiss of me not to acknowledge just how inspirational this whole experience has been. I have learnt a great deal, enjoyed the course immensely, and have been given memories to cherish. It has been brilliant working alongside Sophie and the team. But a special mention has to go to Sarah whose commitment and special empathy with everyone has been quite remarkable. Thank you.
By Jim Hurst, employed volunteer on a recent Groundwork Prince’s Trust Team in Bury. Jim wrote the text above as part of the Final Presentation speeches that conclude the Prince’s Trust Team programme.
For more information on the Groundwork Prince’s Trust Team programme in Bury please contact Sarah Hill on 07525 130 104 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org