This week, I have been volunteering in the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign office in Southwark, London with Trailblazers. I have been involved with Trailblazers for the past two years or so, but this is the first time I have been into the office. I wanted to come this summer for work experience in order to get an idea of what sorts of things go on in a charity and campaign group and help me decide what area of work I would like to go into when I graduate next June.
To get work experience, I spoke to Bobby Ancil a few months ago to ask him whether there was anything I could get involved with over the summer, and he invited me down to London for the week to help out.
I live on the Wirral, near Liverpool, so I decided to get the train down from Liverpool Lime Street Station to Euston Station with my friend, while my dad drove down in our wheelchair adapted van with our suitcases and my equipment. I came down on the train rather than in the van because I find it painful sitting in the van for long journeys, plus getting the train down meant we could do a bit of sightseeing and exploring whilst we waited for my dad to pick us up.
Getting onto the train at Liverpool was fine, they let us on the train approximately fifteen minutes before everyone else got on so we had time to get positioned and comfortable. However, on arriving at Euston, we had to wait about ten minutes for the staff to come with the ramp to let us off the train. I think they only came because I had contacted my friend who was meeting us that we were stuck on the train and she went to find help. I was a bit annoyed as I had booked assistance and the man who came with the ramp told me off for being impatient!
We are staying in Canary Wharf for the week in an apartment. We chose an apartment rather than a hotel as it seemed more convenient and would allow us to relax and stay in if we wanted to. We found the apartment online after quite a lot of Googling! It does not have a wheelchair accessible bathroom, but it is flat throughout (except for getting onto the balcony) with a lift up to it.
For my first day, on Tuesday, my dad drove me from our apartment to the office. When I arrived, I sat in on a meeting with the Trailblazers team (Bobby, Tanvi and Laura) where we talked about the upcoming APPG on Thursday. Bobby asked me if I would introduce the topic of public transport at the APPG. For the rest of the day I worked on my speech of what I wanted to say, using information from the End of the Line report and the more recent public transport questionnaire.
I am really enjoying my time helping out with Trailblazers in the MDC office and would definitely recommend it to any other Trailblazers who are interested.