Leader Award winner Helen used her Leader Award Grant from the Jack Petchey Foundation to build a large seesaw alongside the disabled young people she works with.
A play worker at the KIDS foundation, Helen was awarded the Jack Petchey Leader Award by the young people she works with for putting the extra effort into planning their sessions and paying close attentions to their interests. After this, KIDS applied for a Leader Award Grant to pay for the materials for the specific Seesaw project.
In addition to being a play worker for KIDS where she facilitates playground sessions, Helen is also a skilled carpenter and wanted to use her grant not only to get more accessible playground materials, but to give the young people she works with the opportunity to create and shape their own play environment.
Helen commented: “The Leader’s Award has allowed me to combine both my play work at the playground and my work as a carpenter in an amazing way! I have really enjoyed teaching woodwork skills to the young people- it has been great to see their confidence grow with their practical skills and using tools.”
Although the seesaw required skilled carpentry knowledge, Helen made sure that the children were involved and engaged in all parts of the project by running workshops that included planning the seesaw, cutting the wood to correct sizes and learning about the construction industry. This allowed the young people to learn how to use different tools such as saws and hammers safely. While some of the young people were nervous initially, the workshops and learning experience has allowed them to grow in confidence in the learning of new skills.
The project has also encouraged the young people at KIDS to take ownership of the playground and they have since come up with many new ideas to improve the space. Some of the young people have also taken to decorating the seesaw by painting it in bright colours.
One of the main aims of the project was for the seesaw to be inclusive and accessible. It has also encouraged the building of social skills and interacting with each other often in ways that they do not in other activities in the playground.
KIDS is now planning a series of additional workshops of what to create with the off-cuts of wood for both the children and youth groups, as the workshops have proven so popular.
In addition to benefiting the young people at KIDS, Helen herself told us how the experience had affected her: “Teaching is definitely something I would like to do more of now in my career! It has also been incredible to see the impact of the see saw on the young people and how much they all love it! I really didn’t expect the amount of children and young people that like it and want to use it! It is great to see it bringing together lots of children that don’t often play together. They all seem so proud of the see saw that they helped to create.”
KIDS is an organisation that support over 13,500 disabled children, young people and their families every year by delivering over 90 services throughout England. Their projects ensure that disabled. young people have the opportunity to learn, play, build relationships, gain confidence and improve their wellbeing through a wide range of activities. To find out more about their work, visit their website.
Have you been awarded a Leader Award in the last 12 months and are interested in applying for a Leader Award Grant? Visit our information page now to find out more, you only have until March 31st 2020 to apply.