First Day

On Monday 1st April, I properly started my placement. It began with a meeting with Kate, an events co-ordinator at the SAFE charity in Exeter. After discussing with her last week when I secured my placement about a possible programme I could help her run, we met up to discuss how we were going to run this programme called ‘Seedlings’ over the Easter Break. This is a new programme that has been set up by the SAFE to replace some older and outdated programmes. This meant Kate and I got to sit down and brain storm possible ideas and activities we could incorporate. ‘Seedlings’ is going to be a 2-day programme for children of all ages (which was previously separate groups for separate ages but due to lack of funding and a smaller participation list the groups are being put together) who have had experience of abuse within the family. SAFE only deals with families after the ‘abuser’ has been removed from this situation and focuses primarily on prevention and safeguarding of the parent and the child/children. Each volunteer/employee at SAFE has a client list with at least 10 families they monitor while also providing different programmes such as one-on-one counselling with the parent and the child, group counselling as part of their DART programme and group programmes for both parents and children. The programme me and Kate are running is intended to get children from similar backgrounds to come together for 2 days of fun and relaxation with the key focus being making it feel like a ‘safe space’ while also encouraging the children to talk about feelings and emotions more and try to guide them with a better understanding of these feeling and emotions. I am really excited to run this programme as I think it is a very beneficial way to help children discuss how they are feeling while also giving these children a fun day out which a lot of them need after the ordeals they have been through. I am expecting some hard hitting topics to arise, but I am prepared and just excited to help these children in anyway I can. Throughout the morning me and Kate outlined a basic schedule of the different activities we would do with the children over the two days, using resources from previous programmes while also thinking of our own ideas. An idea I came up with that I think we will incorporate into the day was ‘Draw the Feelings’. In my first year of University at the University of Roehampton I completed ‘An introduction to counselling’ module where we actually got to practice and participate in group counselling. One of the sessions, involved us colouring in a cut-out silhouette of a human body and colouring it in with different colours depending on where we feel these emotions. What I liked most about the task was that the our mentor allowed us to pick our own colours for each emotion, giving the drawing a more personal representation of the persons feelings. Kate told me about a similar task they had down before with chalk on the walls and and getting children to draw what happy looks like, what sad looks like e.t.c but Kate agreed that it would be interesting to see the children’s own personal representations of feelings and where they feel emotion. Other tasks we have included in our schedule is ‘Hunt the Feelings’ which is like a treasure hunt but for different emotions, and we thought we could put an Easter Egg Hunt spin on it as it will be the Easter Holidays and make it a bit more exciting for the children. We also make sure we make a lot of different things so they have keepsakes to take home with them to remember the day such as slime, a glitter jar, a goody bag and a little seedling they can plant themselves. A lot of the DIY tasks are in place to make sensory toys which can be used a stress relievers when at home. As well as planning this programme that will run for 8 hours over the 17th and 18th of April, I got to have discussions with other members of the team about potential families that are coming to the end of the DART programme or a counselling programme that may just need a weekly check-in for emotional support. There are 2 potential families I might be able to work with which I am really excited about as it means I will get to work with children of all different ages and the parents. SAFE works hard as charity to work with the whole family and their relationship and communication after the abuser has been removed. So far I have completed 2 hours of work with the charity and and 1 hour of private learning and reading in order to prepare for the programme I am going to be running with Kate. I will also have completed another hour of independent learning this week as I will be collecting all the equipment I will need to run this programme such as instructions and equipment for the DIY tasks, laminating and printing out emoji cards, creating goody bags for the children and recruiting and creating a contact list of children who may be available to participate in the programmes from the database called Oasis where all the children and parents receiving help from the charity are stored.



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