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SusanSusan Olivacce is a full time Promise Worker and Deputy Play Officer at The Winch, working with children aged 4-12.

As a Promise Worker, Susan provides one-to-one support to eight children. Moreover, she acts as a child advocate while working with partnership services such as schools and social services in addition to connecting children and their families with wider support networks. Ultimately, Susan and all of The Winch’s Promise workers help children and young people to develop character strengths, ensure wellbeing and maximize impact. Working with a younger age group, Susan feels it is important to develop trust and positive relationships with the parents of the children as well.

As a Deputy Play Officer, Susan works with Kim Mabbut, the Play Development Officer, to run After School Club as well as the holiday and half term play schemes. After School Club picks up children from three different schools, George Eliot, Holy Trinity, and Swiss Cottage Primary (drop ins from other schools are welcome to attend as well) and offers games, arts and crafts, sports and other opportunities for children to learn through play from 3:30 to 5:45 pm. The holiday play schemes offer additional educational and fun activities during the school holidays such as as day trips and projects from 9:15am to 5:45pm. As reliable childcare systems, both After School Club and the holiday play schemes allow parents to work full-time while ensuring that their children are engaged in a positive, fun way. While working as a play officer, Susan particularly enjoys seeing and participating in the children’s role-play. Impressed by the children’s imaginations, Susan elaborated, “There are no limits, children are superheroes and a doll house can become a fantasy island or a castle.”

Before joining The Winch team in March of 2014, Susan worked in nurseries and children’s centres.  Being the youngest of seven children (and becoming an aunt at the age of 6,) Susan has always been passionate about connecting with children and knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children as a part of her career. In fact, her work experience while she was a young person was at a school.

As a Promise Worker and Deputy Play Officer, Susan feels that the most important qualities to have are patience, compassion and the ability to truly listen.  In the future, Susan hopes to see The Winch expand its impact by reaching out to accommodate more people and continuing to provide top-notch support.

Get to know Susan a bit more and take a look at some of her favourites and fun facts below:

Favourite colour:  Black

Favourite artist: Jill Scott

Favourite food: Anything apart from bananas

Greatest Fears: Polystyrene and worms

Favourite place visited: The Caribbean

Favourite film: The Emperor’s New Groove

Favourite actor: Morgan Freeman

Pet peeve: Bad manners

Favourite T.V. show: Daredevil

Nicknames: Sues, Susie, Susie Q

 


CaptureThe Winch has had some fundraising success in the last couple of months. In July we got the good news that we have been awarded funding from BBC Children in Need for the next 3 years to help us to continue running our after-school club and holiday play schemes, which are attended by up to 60 children every day. We were also awarded £28,000 from Natwest's Skills and Opportunities Fund for The Company, our business development programme for 18 - 25 year olds.  Furthermore Marks and Spencers created a new kitchen for the Winch on their Spark Something Good Day on July 29. A team of volunteers stripped out our old kitchen and installed a new one – all within 24 hours.

On 21 August, Bank of America Merrill Lynch created a fantastic party to mark the end of the Summer Holiday Play Scheme.  Not only did they provide the food for the party but also a team of volunteers who prepared, cooked and served the food for the children and their families.  They also face painted the children and organised games for them.

From 1st - 5th June we took part in the Childhood Trust's Summer Give and raised over £20,000! The money was used to plan exciting trips and activities for the children attending our holiday playscheme, as well as running additional activities for young people. Thank you to everyone who took part in the Summer Give by making a pledge or donating during the online phase.

 

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iphone uploads 1739 (2)Whether through group or outreach sessions, school visits, or The Company, our goal is to engage young people in the North Camden community and provide them with continuous support. Survey responses from 67 young people (ages 11-25) confirmed the dedication of our team, the varied interests that The Winch caters to and the overall importance of The Winch in the lives of young people.

“Helpful, fun, family” is how one young person described The Winch.  Another described the support as “sensational and inspiring, ” while another cited his/her trust in our staff as making The Winch “a second home.“ When asked to rate The Winch out of 10 (with 1 being low and 10 being high,) the young people gave an average rating of 9. Moreover, 50 percent of young people said that they would look to The Winch for advice, information and guidance as opposed to the 22 percent that would look to school and the 2 percent that would look to council.

According to our survey, the most popular session for our 11-18 year olds are group sessions (e.g. cooking, music, football etc), followed by school based sessions (e.g. self-directed learning, female empowerment group etc.). One young person, for example, referred to The Winch as a “young people space” where “everyone can go and feel comfortable.”

The overwhelming majority of young people credited The Winch for helping them to build confidence and self-esteem, with a young person saying The Winch “developed (his/her) character.” Moreover, The Winch aims to engage young people in political dialogue to educate them about their rights, and in the words of a young person instill in them “how [they] as young people can change the world.” Perhaps most poignantly, nearly 40 percent of young people reported that without The Winch, they would have nowhere else to go.

We were pleased that feedback from our young people mirrored the feedback from the parents and children and that parents, young people and children alike value The Winch’s role in the North Camden community.

 

New Camden ZoneOver the past few months, we have been working on a number of projects reaching out into the community and partnering with local people and organisations to improve the lives of Camden children and young people.

Axis is the new Camden-commissioned mental health service for 16 to 24 year olds across the borough. We are delighted to be part of a consortium supported by Catch22 that will deliver the service over the next two years, bringing together experts in community, mental health and youth work.

Axis will operate across Camden as well as out of its base in the old Post Office on Finchley Road, at a building called The Hive. It will support young people alongside local partners in different parts of the borough. For more information about the service, click here.

North Camden Zone is a piece of work funded by the Lankelly Chase Foundation and Locality focusing on how to bring people together to make sure that North Camden is a great place to grow up for every child.

North Camden Zone was born out of the belief that if local families, residents and services work together we can improve the life chances of local children and young people. So far, 200 local people and nearly 50 professionals have given their opinions on how to improve the area, including what they can do.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’re hoping to open a pop-up shop in Swiss Cottage at the old Me Love Sushi site will provide a physical space for people to pop into, share their ideas and meet others who are getting involved. Whilst the Zone has been convened by The Winch, it will be owned and developed by the community.

If you’d like to find out more or get involved, email ncz@thewinch.org or have a look at the Zone’s Commonplace site, where you can comment on what you think is great about our area, or what you’d like to help improve.

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