YMCA East Surrey

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Meet the team

From flexible shifts to long-term careers and great training opportunities, people join our Children’s Services team for a variety of reasons.

Natasha

Natasha

Why did you first apply to be a playworker?
I started off as volunteer and really enjoyed working alongside staff as well as the range of settings so it only made sense to apply to be a playworker. It’s a hands on job that equips you with a variety of transferable skills.

What are the perks of the job for you?
The job is a fantastic job to have especially alongside university due to flexibility of hours and availability. Management is very supportive and easy to communicate with. Staff are all very welcoming you can work here for couple weeks but feel like you have worked here for years. I have gained a lot of transferable skills – communication, team work, liaising with other professionals and expanding my knowledge around child development.

How has this experience helped you in life?
I completed a degree in social work and found that my academic experience at times was very bureaucratic. Working with kids as a playworker equipped me with a hands on skills when conducting one to one sessions as a social work student. I’ve had the opportunity to learn new skills such as Makaton
communication and also develop my problem solving, ability to think on my feet and patience. Even sometimes just listening to the little things about a child’s day can make a big difference.

Where will you go next?
With support and motivation from management and fellow playworkers, I managed to complete my social work degree and do shifts over holidays at the YMCA. I hope to continue to do the same as I complete my MSc in Psychology.

Raife

Raithe

Why did you first apply to be a playworker?
Shortly after enjoying my first day football coaching on the holiday playscheme at Furzefield primary school I applied to become a playworker. I originally started out as a football coach with the YMCA and was offered further work as a playworker. I love working outside doing different sports and have been able to continue building on my coaching experience with the sports sessions that run at after school club and playscheme.

What are the perks of the job for you?
I very much enjoy working with children as I thrive off of their energy! Seeing someone benefit from my own guidance and coaching gives me a sense of self-worth. If I can help someone to develop themselves as a person in sports or in society, I have done well in my eyes.

How has this experience helped you in life?
I have developed my confidence in communicating with parents and children through this job and have learned to be better equipped to deal with challenging behaviour. This has also been beneficial to my coaching outside of the YMCA as I get to improve my knowledge of drills and the different sports. With the YMCA, my ability to get kids to listen and learn from my coaching and develop as people transcends into football and sport, as both go hand in hand.

Where will you go next?
Working with children will be beneficial to me as a coach. I intend to go to university next year to study a Sports Coaching degree with the hope of transferring this into Performance Analysis as a profession. With the YMCA, I also hope to move upwards and develop my skills to be a gym instructor, which develop my character not only to work with children and their issues but also adults to broaden my experience, depth of knowledge and practical skills.

Amanda

Amanda

Why did you first apply to be a playworker?
I was looking for employment that would not only allow me to spend time with my children but would also give me some job satisfaction on a personal level.

What are the perks of the job for you?
I have found the job to be a good mix of enjoyment and challenge. There are rotas in place and you do know your responsibilities but every day is different by virtue of the fact that you are working with children, so you have to also be flexible and reactive. It’s definitely not a boring job! It is a great team atmosphere and everybody pulls together and looks out for each other. I have formed some really positive relationships on a work and personal level with the team but also with some of the children. It is really personally fulfilling when they get to know you and enjoy spending time with you, as well as listening and learning from you.

How has this experience helped you in life?
I was in a position personally where I was doing everything to accommodate my children. This position has helped me by allowing me some personal fulfilment whilst still giving me the work life balance my family needs.

Where will you go next?
I hope to continue in this position for some time to come. I feel that there may be potential opportunities within the YMCA that I may be able to utilise to further expand my skills and knowledge and I intend to take full advantage of any opportunity that comes my way. As my children grow older I would like to consider also expanding my hours in some form to utilise that knowledge.

Daisy

Daisy

Why did you first apply to be a playworker?
After being a volunteer with the YMCA disability scheme, I decided to apply for the playworker role as I was met by such a lovely team and felt I had really connected with the service users. I was well supported by the management team when I was a volunteer and this has continued throughout my time at the YMCA.

What are the perks of the job for you?
The main perk of the job is being able to watch the kids grow and develop every time they come to one of our schemes. I also love the feeling of being appreciated by the families in need and the kids as everyone needs a break sometimes.

How has this experience helped you in life?
Working as a playworker has helped me in both my academic and personal lives. It has had a major impact on helping me to choose childcare and social work as a career path and also helping me to make close friends with similar interests along the way. Before starting at the YMCA I didn’t have much confidence, however after seeing that I can help so many families in the community, I feel a lot more self-assured in my abilities.

Where will you go next?
Now that I have gathered more experience with a range of disabilities, I am looking to move into a more senior role within YMCA’s disability team. I am also applying for a social work degree for 2018.

Kirsty

Kirsty

Why did you first apply to be a playworker?
I first started working with YMCA as a volunteer for my Duke of Edinburgh gold award. I volunteered on the Yippee disability playscheme and absolutely loved my time as a volunteer getting to know the children and being involved in all the different activities that are offered! At the end of my volunteering I applied to become a playworker because I loved working with the children, the support from everyone around you that you work with and mainly because I found somewhere that I felt comfortable and enjoyable to work in!

What are the perks of the job for you?
For me the main perk of being a disability playworker is the amazing job satisfaction you get every single time that you work! Being able to provide the short break services that these families use, means that I feel I am doing something positive every day. It doesn’t feel like a job! There’s always something new to experience that you forget you’re working.

How has this experience helped you in life?
Working for YMCA has had a massive impact on my life. First the experience of working within short breaks services has helped me find an area that I like to work within and am very passionate about, something I didn’t have before the YMCA. It has also helped me to build up various skills such as my ability to communicate with the various people around me, finding new ways to access the world around us so that everyone can join and improved my ability to think on my feet!

Where will you go next?
I am currently undecided about my career path but I know I want to stay working with children and young people with disability. For now, I am going to continue to train and build my skills with the support of the YMCA.

Want to join our team as a YMCA playworker?

Apply for a playworker role today