Our 11th themed day, was our Fund Raising Day, where the Mentees, with the help of their Mentors, held stalls in Lemon Street Market, Truro, having “made or baked” items, with a Valentines theme, for their chosen Charities. A selection of buns, cakes, muffins, homemade bird feeders, Valentines cards personally designed, painted pebbles and bookmarks with a book.
The Mentees and their Mentors worked fantastically hard in producing some innovative and creative items for their stalls and their efforts were commendable. They also showed great entrepreneurial skills when engaging with the general public and managed to raise phenomenal amounts for their chosen Charities.
Below is a list of the chosen Charities:
What a fantastic day we had!
On our 10th themed day, we flew from Newquay Airport to London Gatwick, after short delays, due to the unpredictable weather and the possible forecast of snow.
From the windows on our flight, the ground was completely white, covered in a blanket of snow from the night before.
We made our way from Gatwick Airport by train into London, where we caught a bus to the Headquarters of Amnesty International.
Dan Jones and Niall Couper hosted our session with an introduction to Amnesty International’s phenomenal work around the World and how they strive to “make a difference” to those that need it the most.
So many people of different ages, genders and nationalities are being incarcerated for “speaking out” in so many different ways against their regime or political governments. Amnesty fights for justice of the people and cause and by showing united support.
The talk and film footage was shocking, thought provoking, but at the same time, inspiring.
Dan asked us all to show our support on the day by writing a short message to those who were incarcerated in their own native language, as these letters proved paramount in the release of so many.
In the afternoon, we travelled across London to the Houses of Parliament where we met with Bishop Tim and his team. We met in the Great Hall and were given a brief explanation as to the function and set up of the Houses of Parliament. The House of Commons – is where the UK public elects Members of Parliament to represent their interests and concerns and proposals for new Laws. The House of Lords – works with the House of Commons to make Laws, check and challenge the actions of the government.
Bishop Tim gave us a tour of the House of Lords and explained the history and processes of how the House of Lords functioned and how the Queen attended once a year and has been since she came to throne at the age of 21. She has been party to a myriad of Prime Ministers in her time.
We ended the day with a Question and Answer session with Bishop Tim on the Refugee situation and those that need support the most, not only from Government, but from the Church too and how we can propose to raise awareness for this support and have the structures in place.
The young people had a very full day and a varied experience of London’s public transport, but enjoyed every minute!
Our last and 9th themed day for 2016 was our Health and Well-Being Day at the Health and Well-Being Innovation Centre, Truro.
We spent the first part of our morning meeting Juliette Hathaway and Amanda Barlow of the Made for Life Foundation who kindly explained how the Made for Life Foundation was founded and how it has been crucial in supporting those currently going through cancer and the after care for those patients that have gone through cancer. What is incredible about this fantastic Foundation, is the support and care given to those that are not going through cancer themselves, but have partners, wives/husbands and family that are.
Juliette and Amanda explained that it is difficult enough for the person who is going through cancer treatment to come to terms with their illness, but their partners/wives/husbands and family sometimes feel completely isolated too and need to know there is someone there for them too who they can talk to and not feel like they need to refrain from showing their emotions.
It is a very sensitive time for all parties and the Made for Life Foundation is doing a wonderful job.
We then had a session with Ray Humble, who showed us how a Defibrillator works and also CPR. The Mentees enjoyed the “hands on” CPR and it was all about making the young people aware that everyone was able to help or save someone and it is better to have a go at saving someone’s life, rather than not do anything.
We then had the Health and Well-Being team from Cornwall Council who had healthy activities for the Mentees, such as learning about nutrition – what foods are good for you and what foods are not. A smoothie bike, where they had to pedal on a bike to blend a smoothie, hand washing and how clean are your hands under a UV light and learning about emergency procedures in making calls to 999. These activities were great in getting the Mentees to challenge their beliefs and conceptions of diet and encouraged them to ask questions.
Lastly, we had Caroline Perkins from Archie Browns, Vegetarian Shop in Penzance who brought along an array of unusual food items for the Mentees and Mentors to taste. It was great, because this session definitely challenged everyone’s taste buds and raised a lot of interest. It was also great to learn the health benefits of these food items too and left the Mentees and Mentors questioning their food input and the benefits.
Our 8th themed day was our “Courage and Challenge” day at Truro College, Truro, where we watched the Malala Film.
After the Taliban tries to kill Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani teenager for speaking out on behalf of girl’s education, she emerges as a leading advocate for children’s rights and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The film raised a lot of compassion, anger and was thought provoking for the Mentees and they were able to demonstrate their emotions by asking questions in our Question & Answer session with our guest speaker, Wailim Wong from Amnesty International. Wailim followed the Question and Answer session with an insight into Amnesty’s inspirational work and their tireless campaigning for Human Rights.
The Mentees, in watching the Malala film, became aware of how lucky they were to have choice and the access to education and how this can be taken for granted.
Our film was followed by lunch, which was cooked by the young Apprentices at Truro College, which was their first experience of cooking for a large guest group. The lunch was absolutely amazing and tasted great!
The Mentees were then split into groups and given guided tours of the campus, where they met students, learnt about Courses and Apprenticeships and hopefully inspired them to “follow their dreams”.
We have just had our 7th themed day, our Legal Day!
The Legal Day was a fascinating, interesting and insightful day into the realm of the Law.
We started our day at the Crown Courts in Truro, where the Mentors and Mentees had an audience with a Judge. He talked about his role and the Justice System and how a Judge does not always have the power or control over sentencing as perceived by the general public or televised on social media. The sentencing can be carried out on the evidence heard by the Jury. He informed the Mentees that those held in custody awaiting their trials and sentencing do not have to attend the Court for their hearing. They can remain in their cell and be televised over a screen in the Courtroom during the proceedings. Incredibly informative!
The Mentors and Mentees were extremely privileged to be able to sit in on actual hearings and sentencing of Court Cases. The Mentees witnessed the Barristers in their roles and listened to the legal jargon put before the Judge. Some of the cases were fraud and assault, but one of the cases that was being sentenced that day was for Murder.
The Mentors and Mentees were mesmerised by the facts and the evidence put forward. The Judge took all evidence into account when passing his sentence. The Accused was not present and had refused to leave her prison cell. She was given a Life Sentence of 27 years in the presence of the family of the deceased victim.
A very strong message was left with everyone after leaving the Court room, that anyone at any time, due to whatever circumstances, can find themselves on the wrong side of the Law and it happens to ordinary people every day. An intimidating environment, but completely enthralling!
We then had an audience with the Truro’ Coroner, Dr Emma Carlyon. Her role is a very fascinating and interesting role too. All deaths are referred to the Coroner when the cause of death can not be established or is suspicious. As part of her role, she also deals with treasure that is found and establishing its origin and who has rights, or whether or not it is of national treasure value.
Our day ended at New County Hall for a Legal debate on the current Refugee situation. The Mentees each had a microphone in front of them, which they could press to speak when addressed by the Chair of the debate, in order to voice their opinions on whether they were for or against the Refugees coming into their Country. This was followed by a panel of Solicitors/Barristers who were happy to answer any questions regarding the Law and the Legal system following on from the Court visit earlier in the day. It was great to hear the passionate debates and arguments for and against and I am pretty sure we have some budding Politicians and Barristers in the making!
We have just completed our 6th month of our 12 month programme. September was our two day residential – with a fantastic line up!
Dartmoor Zoo on Thursday 15th September 2016, where the young people and their Mentors were set the task of designing their own chosen species enclosures. Part of this task was a guided a tour around the Zoo grounds to view possible sites for their enclosures, bearing in mind what other animals would be alongside, the materials that would be required, the height and width of the enclosure, and the needs of the species, for example trees, water and shelter. They also had to factor in the costs and the ongoing revenue for the Zoo in having an attraction that people would want to see. They were given a budget of £10,000 for all their materials and build costs. Each team jumped at the challenge and worked brilliantly together.
However, ¾ of the way through their challenge, an unforeseen expense had cropped up at the Zoo, which meant that their budgets had to be cut drastically to £8,000. Again, after the initial panic, they rose to the challenge and started to re-adjust their budgets accordingly.
Each team then had to present their designs, features, build costs and revenue of the enclosures to a panel of Zoo workers, including Benjamin Mee, owner of Dartmoor Zoo.
They all worked extremely hard and their enthusiasm shone through. The winning team was the all boy’s team.
We then had time to walk around the Zoo grounds before leaving for our overnight stay at Bellever YHA on Dartmoor.
A fantastic overnight stay – Comfortable beds, hot showers and incredibly good food with an amazing host. Well recommended!!
Our second day, started with a tour of Dartmoor Prison Museum and then an incredible and inspirational interview with “Dexter” a prisoner of HM Dartmoor, who had served 3 years of his 6 year sentence and was due to leave in 8 months. Dexter was incarcerated for a drug offence and his message was very clear to the young people and the Mentors. Stay away from drugs!!!!
Our afternoon visit was the Plymouth College of Art. Hannah the Director gave us all fantastic hospitality and spoke briefly about the Plymouth College of Art and had asked one of the previous students who had graduated to talk to the young people about his experiences.
The young people had the fantastic opportunity to cast their handprints in sand and then they were cast in glass, followed by designing their own business cards in the 3D department.
A full packed two days – but absolutely brilliant in every single way and completely diverse.
Our 4th themed day was spent at Skills Group Plymouth. This day was very "hands on" and productive. The Mentees and Mentors got stuck in.
Brick laying – building a small wall, plastering, carpentry – chiselling a simple joint, painting and decorating and cutting tiles.
Some of the Mentees/Mentors were quoted to have said, "best day yet". This day was very poignant for the Mentees, as it was structured around learning a manual skill and in Cornwall, having a trade is very important.
It was also great to see the creative sides of the Mentees/Mentors when stencilling and Ellie McNair showed her natural artistic flare in her bespoke stencilling.
We are all having a break for the Summer and will commence our fifth themed day on our two day residential - 1st Day Dartmoor Zoo and 2nd Day at Dartmoor Prison and Plymouth College of Art - Thursday 15th and Friday 16th September 2016.
Our 3rd themed day – Emmaus, Brighton Pavilions and Meet the Mayor - Brighton & Hove.
This was going to be a big day for all! The experience of flying, Emmaus for the Homeless and meeting Terry Waite, CBE. The Brighton Pavilions and meeting the Mayor.
Emmaus was inspirational and humbling all at the same time. The mis-conceptions of homelessness and hearing and understanding the stories of the homeless companions. How life, as you know it, could change overnight. Circumstances that could be out of your control. Emmaus wants to be able to offer those the opportunity to get their lives back on track. Joel Lewis, our host for the day at Emmaus did a fantastic presentation on Emmaus and its core values.
Terry Waite, CBE, President of Emmaus, is a pioneer of good cause and compassion and his own life experiences reflect this and his story is beyond comprehension. All his work and advocacy is voluntary. To be in his presence and have the opportunity to meet and talk to him is truly wonderful and he is someone who inspires the young and old. His message is to stay true and strong and follow your beliefs and never give up. A message that will resonate with the Mentees, I am sure.
The Mentees offered a donation of £100 from C4L in recognition of the outstanding work and commitment of Emmaus.
The Brighton Pavilions were “jaw dropping” breath taking and completely indulgent and borderline ludicrous frivolity and richness. Like nothing seen before and I am sure I can speak for the Mentees and Mentors and their audio tour.
The Mayor of Brighton & Hove joined us in the Red Room at the Pavilions to meet us and to talk about his role as Mayor. The Mentees and Mentors enjoyed the Question & Answer session and the Mayor was a fantastic host.
Our full day, ended with a meal at Donatello’s Restaurant. An Italian Restaurant that comes highly recommended. Sue Addis, owner of Donatello’s was an amazing host and the food was delicious. Clean plates all round!
Another incredible day!
A big “thank you” goes to Martin Warren, PA to the Mayor of Brighton & Hove who was paramount in making this trip possible!
This morning I woke up at 5am. What an early start. Rondez Vous was at Penair School at 5:30 am. Everybody turned up with tired eyes and all waved goodbye to the kind parents who woke up very early, especially for this trip. I looked around me and saw 15 young children who were all very quiet. A few friends sat together but everyone was very separate…
The bus we got onto was pretty awesome, it had obviously been to a wedding as it had ribbons and bows and ‘just married’ on the front! However, it was a very s-l-o-w journey up to Newquay Airport.
The plane was set to leave at 7:40 am so we had to go through security, luckily with no problems and then we went to get breakfast! I had 2 yummy pastries and also got a bag of popcorn for later on in the day.
Finally, it was time for the flight! We flew in an Emrbaer 190 (which has 2 jet engines instead of propellers), it was a comfortable flight and the crew were really friendly- they even gave us a free chocolate after landing!
We then had a struggle to find the coach but we finally found our coach and it was the Big Lemon bus which is a bus that is run off vegetable oil. It was a nice drive which took about 45 minutes to get to Brighton and Hove and we all bundled off the vehicle at the site of a beautiful manor house with a huge garden that was really beautiful to look at. This was the building of Emmaus- a company that started in France just after the Second World War, when homelessness was a big problem.
The building I was stood in front of – I later learnt- was an 1800s manor house and was bought 20 years ago for £500,000, off of a group of sisters who used the building as a convent for women who had been marginalised. It offered work and a home (a bit like Emmaus does now) to over 80 women who worked hard partaking in tasks such as doing the laundry.
We were introduced to Joel Lewis who next took us round the back of the building to a conservatory like building and gave us a short break with juice and snacks. We then had a short introduction to Emmaus and watched a video that told us all about Emmaus as a company. Joel explained that Emmaus provides jobs, safety and a home to ‘companions’ of Emmaus. Companions are those who have had a referral to Emmaus, either by a counsellor, or prison, or a kind friend.
The process of becoming a companion starts with a referral, and then has an interview process afterwards. This not only ensures that Emmaus is right for this particular companion, but it also teaches skills for the future- which is one of Emmaus’ aims. One third of Emmaus companions stay for up to 6 months, one third stay between 6 months and 2 years, and the other third stay for 2 or more years. It just depends on the person.
Emmaus is a place of solidarity, with 11 staff members, 43 volunteers and currently 47 companions at Brighton and Hove Emmaus. There are currently 3 counsellors and one support worker working at Emmaus. They are all about peer support.
Emmaus has a shop and an emporium which has a target audience of customers with low or no income and the money raised goes towards Emmaus and helping the community. The companions also help to run this shop, so therefore a job has also been provided. Joel said in his introduction that ‘family are your chosen friends’ and the companions at Emmaus have a family there, and they focus on the people, and the community. Joel also said that Emmaus has a ‘ripple effect’ and shows the ‘power of working together’.
We then had a tour of the site and it was then time for lunch. Head Chef prepared a wonderful meal of pasta, stuffed peppers and rice, chicken, sandwiches and lots of other lovely fancies. By this time, the sun was at its highest point, so it was blazing hot sunshine outside, so we stayed outside for the last part of the afternoon.
We were all quietened down and introduced to someone at first glance I want to describe as a ‘big, cuddly teddy bear’. I soon found out that this was Terry Waite. Waite gave a talk on Emmaus and he described each Emmaus community differently and said that ‘you never know what you may find in an Emmaus community’ which sparked a lot of thought in my mind. Waite had an awful history, as we all are aware, yet what I found most interesting was that he didn’t linger on his history. He spoke most about Emmaus and how passionate he was about helping the community shone through in his speech.
After the speech, one of the young students Lewis Gillard, gave a vote of thanks to Terry and presented him with a cheque to help with the Emmaus community. Lewis did really well, he was quite nervous as he isn’t used to giving speeches, but he did very well. It will be very interesting for me to see how far Lewis and the other children have come, when I see them make their final speeches in April next year. I can safely say that I am thoroughly looking forward to see how the Citizenship for Life Project has helped the young children with their confidence in themselves.
We then had some free time to explore Emmaus and I went and did some shopping in the Emmaus shop. I was more than happy to donate all of my money as I know that it will be helping the homeless companions. I had some casual chats with the companions in the shop and they were all so friendly. It made me realise how much Emmaus really helps them.
Next, we all bundled back onto the bus and had a quick drive through Brighton city to the Royal pavilions. We had a quick audio tour of the Pavilions which was a stunningly beautiful building and held a lot of history for Brighton and Hove. At 3:45pm we were greeted by the town mayor and had a short meeting with him where he told us all about Brighton and Hove. We found out information such as the different committees, including the LGBT committee, which Brighton and Hove have involved in decision making for the city. As a representative of Redruth Youth Council, I thought it would be interesting to see if Brighton and Hove had a youth council. I was quite surprised to hear that they don’t!
For the last part of the day, we went for a very posh meal at an Italian restaurant called Donatello. I say posh, because there were three forks at my place- three! I was privileged enough to sit with the former mayor of Truro, Lorrie, the organiser of Citizenship for Life Project, Sarah, and the mayor of Brighton and Hove. The meal was a very nice end to the day, and the food was just delicious.
Finally it was time to say goodbye to the Mayor and he escorted us to the meeting point where we all boarded the Big Lemon for the last time. It was a bit of a rush to get to the airport on time for our flight. We had to rush through security and it was such a picture watching everyone running down the travelators. The young ones looked like they were really enjoying it though, they had huge smiles on their faces and it was very heart-warming to see them enjoying themselves so much.
The plane was delayed but we finally took off at 8:45pm and again Rondez Voued at arrivals. It was sad to say goodbye to some of the team at the airport, but we still had our bus journey back to Truro with some of the team. By now it was very late and some of the young ones were getting very tired. But, a few at the back still had a lot of energy and were very hyper! They must have had a really good day- I know I certainly did.
Thank you, Citizenship for Life for giving me this wonderful opportunity and I can’t wait to see you all again in April.
Our 2nd themed day was our sustainability day at River Cottage. All Mentors and Mentees in high spirits – the heavy downpour of rain can not dampen the persistent enthusiasm and excitement felt by all.
A very bumpy uneven track and a trailor driven by a Tractor led us down to an incredibly green lush valley and River Cottage.
The staff were faultless in their attention to detail. Fresh coffee, tea, soft drinks and freshly made pancakes for all dietary requirements when we arrived.
Their in-house Chef took us on a tour of the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall kitchen where his cookery programmes are televised, followed by a tour of the gardens identifying plants and foraging.
The foraging experience for the Mentees was inspirational. Plants that grew in the hedgerows suddenly became culinary delights – primrose flowers, nettles and more. Picking and tasting freshly grown salad leaves for our lunch from the polytunnels and watching the expressions of some of the Mentees having their taste buds challenged completely!
Lunch was homemade pizzas and gently tossed salad leaves picked by the Mentors and Mentees as an accompaniment.
Our day ended with a surprise cooking demo – freshly baked cookies. Each of us went away with a bag of cookies tied with a bow!
The smiles were the reward! A fantastic day had by all!
We began our 12 month programme with our 1st day, our Launch Day at RNAS Culdrose, Helston. We started on a “high” and our launch day gave the 15 young Mentees and the 15 adult Mentors the opportunity to mix and socialise and the nextworking for the day was fantastic, as was the possible relationships forming between Mentees and Mentors.
The day was full of activity focused on team working. The activities also took some of the Mentees and Mentors out of their “comfort zones” and tested their ability to adapt and challenge themselves. What was evident throughout the day, was the support and empathy each Mentee and Mentor gave to one another and the ongoing encouragement. A fantastic first day for all!