Rachael McGraw, Senior Play Worker

Hi my name is Rachael I am the manager of activity club within Rothesay Court, where we provide activities for the families to enjoy all year round.

Firstly, let me tell you about activity club. Activity club is a fun and inviting room based on the ground floor of Rothesay Court, we are open 10 hours a week, mainly during after school hours, to the families that live at The Gingerbread Centre. Activity club is a place for the parents, children, and teenagers to come and spend positive time together, a time to get away from stress they may be facing due to being homeless.  Activity club is funded by Children In Need, they provide us with a budget, and we use this budget for resources for activities and to cover cost of trips which the families love to attend.

My job is also funded by Children In Need, it is a pleasure to work for two amazing charities that support children and homeless families. There are three staff in activity club, myself as the Play Leader and two Play Assistants, Sarah and Paula. I work 20 hours a week, 10 of those hours are spent with the families during an activity session, where there is always lots of fun activities on. The other 10 of those hours are spent planning and preparing for future events. As the Play Leader, it is my responsibility to keep the budget up to date so I can show Children In Need where the money is being spent. It is also my job to prepare a report every year for Children In Need to show them what difference we make to the families here at The Gingerbread Centre. There is always something to keep me busy especially at this time of year with lots of festive activities which a lot of planning goes into. For example recently we have been on a Christmas trip to Oakley’s farm, where the families that attended got to see Santa and his reindeer. 14 families attended this trip a total of 15 adults and 19 children aged between 4 months and 10 years old. My job included organising transport ensuring all the children had the correct car seat required for their age, risk assessing the trip to identify any risks and ensuring it was suitable for everyone attending. And supporting the families before, during and after the trip, some parents and children may suffer from mental health so having activity club staff there to support them, means they can do the things they may not usually do, this also prepares them for when they move on from The Gingerbread Centre, allowing them to feel more confident in going out on family days in the future.

My job is risky as it is funded by Children In Need, however it is extremely rewarding, seeing the difference that the activity club makes to those that attend and the lovely feedback that we get from the families makes me love my job even more.