PROJECT NAME: ORCHARD MANOR
VOLUNTEER NAME: SOMYA
Orchard Manor is a transition service for young adults with Cerebral Palsy and Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities. The project works to help clients learn life skills and move them towards independent living.
INFORMATION ABOUT MYSELF
I am 24 years old, I am from India. I had finished post graduation when I arrived in the UK. I have been living in universities hostels for five years so this wasn’t the first time living away from home but it was the first time living out of my country. I came to England to have a break from my studies and gain some experience.
WHAT WAS A WORKING DAY LIKE?
A typical working day required me to show up at work and help a resident with breakfast and then head down to the skill centre with the resident I was deployed with in the morning. Support them in the skill centre in a number of activities like, art, music, cooking, massage, passive exercise, rebound therapy, sensory exercise or working at reception.
In the afternoon supporting the residents with lunch and then again in the skills centre and then the last part of the evening supporting residents with dinner. I worked 7 hours a day five days a week with weekends and bank holidays off.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT LIVING IN A DIFFERENT CULTURE?
People- I realised that no matter where you are living people are the same. I found that the basic behaviour of people is the same regardless of the culture and it was very interesting to observe that people feel embarrassed, happy, sad, excited and disappointed by the same things across all cultures.
Weather- I wouldn’t say I enjoyed the weather per se but I did enjoy having a moan about the weather, made me feel really British.
Tea, beer and potato- English love their tea, beer and potato and I love these three things too I believe the people of this country have their basics straight. Whatever the problem it can be fixed by a cuppa and if it is a bigger problem it can be fixed by a pint and if it is a huge problem then two pints and a bowl of chips is what you need and the problem is gone. It is brilliant.
WHAT DID YOU ACHIEVE?
I achieved more than I had imagined I would get out of this experience it is more of a personal growth achievement than vocational achievement. I have become more patient (I was quite patient to begin with, now I have levelled up). I have learnt how to plan a brilliant holiday and how to make new friends and strike a conversation with strangers and have a lovely time.
I have learnt a lot of new words (English and other languages).I have expanded my knowledge of the world and different cultures. I have learnt how to make a lot of different dishes which are easy and quick to make.
The best thing that I learnt at work is Makaton signing. It is a great skill to have and I am really glad that I was in a project which encouraged the use of signing with the residents.
I don’t think I can have an experience like this year ever again this has been wonderful I have made amazing friends and met some of the most wonderful people from all around the world.