21 May 2018
One of the benefits of setting up your own business is the ability to choose how you spend your time.
After spending the past week producing the final version of KCCG’s annual report and developing some exciting new projects (more of which later), on Friday I had the privilege of meeting 14 extraordinary young people who are taking part in this year’s Citizenship for Life programme.
The award-winning Citizenship for Life (C4L) is the brainchild of Charlotte Caldwell, a former Cornwall Council colleague. She wanted to help young people who had experienced personal challenges such as bullying, bereavement and low self-confidence develop their life skills and understanding of what being a good citizen means.
Now in its sixth year, and run by a community interest company which has Terry Waite CBE as its president, C4L selects a group of young people aged 13-14 from local secondary schools and then pairs each of them with a mentor from the business and public sectors. Both mentors and mentees then meet up for one day a month over a 12-month period to take part in a different activity linked to the theme of citizenship, including homelessness, the law, health, human rights and volunteering.
Having enthusiastically accepted an invitation to become one of this year’s mentors, I swapped my work clothes and high heels for jeans and trainers and joined the other 13 mentors at the Bishop’s Forum Activity Centre to wait for our mentees. This first day was a “getting to know each other” session (we won’t know who we’ve been paired with until next month) – and what better way to do that than by rock climbing, abseiling and raft-building?
Sadly (or possibly luckily), an injured shoulder prevented me from taking part in the more energetic activities, so I had to settle for providing noisy support. Despite not being able to shin up rock faces or paddle one of the fast-sinking rafts, it was an incredible day and I can’t wait for next month’s event.
After years of working for the same organisation, the opportunity to choose who I want to work with and what I want to do is exhilarating.
Part of my previous role involved working with schools and town and parish councils, and I’m really pleased to have been asked to help members of the Penzance Neighbourhood Plan group consult the public on their emerging proposals. Following the reopening of the Jubilee Pool, local groups and organisations have been working on ways to regenerate the town, and I’m looking forward to helping the group present their ideas to their local community over the coming months. I’ve also been asked to provide some training in media and public relations and the use of social media to primary headteachers later in the year.
I was certainly hoping to have the opportunity to use my skills and experience in public sector communications in my new life, and it’s great to have been given this opportunity so soon.