During November, I waved goodbye to YG for three weeks and set off on my merry way to Infobuzz to complete the final three weeks of my alternative placement, a requirement needed to complete my Youth Work degree.

Infobuzz started life as a project within YG, delivering drug education and advice to young people. The project grew and developed and resulted in Infobuzz establishing itself as an independent charity in 2005. Since becoming an independent charity Infobuzz has steadily grown and now provides services in various areas to support young people and families across Gloucestershire.

Infobuzz’s project’s come under three headings; Infobuzz Direct which involves the delivery of PSHE sessions within schools and arts development resources through their music studio and BuzzBeat programme.  Castle Gate which supports the families of prisoners as well working with offenders and young people involved in gangs. And finally Head Space which offers therapies by a wide range of trained professionals and training and interventions for other professionals within the children and young people’s workforce.

Since my last visit at the start of 2015 there had been a number of changes among the staff team meaning new faces to meet and names to remember but the welcome I received by all was a reassuring start. So I got stuck in and filled an empty timetable with sessions on a number of the projects that I had little experience in. As a worker relatively new to the field I felt it really important that I seek out experiences that were very different to the work I do at YG and would give me a broader experience and knowledge.

First up was some cognitive behavioural therapy training. I absolutely loved this; it was a completely different type of professional training than I had ever done before. I feel it is an area that is a valuable addition to my tool kit of resources that I am able to use in supporting the young people I work with. Sadly this was only a brief session but definitely an area I would like to spend further time working on as and when the opportunity arises.

Next was some schools work, again an area I had not experienced before so I spent time shadowing their schools work co-ordinator in secondary schools within Gloucestershire delivering issues based sessions around areas such as alcohol, substance misuse, body image and self-harm. This was a totally different way of working as a youth worker for me the confines of a classroom and value base of youth work contradict the formal education process, however, it was clear the youth work approach was a really positive and engaging way to deliver these awareness raising sessions. Once the shadowing was complete it was my turn to stand infront of the class of 30 year 10 boys and deliver a session around alcohol awareness whilst also being observed by my university field work supervisor…. no pressure!!! But luckily the swatting and preparation paid off as I delivered the session and managed to get 30, 15 year old boys engaged and responding to the session and yet again a new experienced I loved.

These are just a couple of the new experiences that I gained whilst away from YG, for me the whole process of working for another organisation has been invaluable and has not only boosted my confidence in new areas but provided me with enhanced knowledge I can use to inform my practice back at YG.

I would like to thank all at Infobuzz for welcoming me into the fold and the support they provided but it’s good to be back in where I belong in the YG and see all the awesome young people I missed whilst away.