Reflecting on my Placement Year with York Cares

Way back in September 2020, I began my placement year with York Cares; I had no idea what to expect as I was starting my first full time job during the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. When reflecting on my year with York Cares, I see how lucky I have been to spend an exceptional year with such an exceptional organisation. 

One of my key responsibilities this year has been to look after the Team Challenges programme. As a result of the unpredictable nature of the last year, we had to work to adapt all programmes to abide by government guidelines, which also meant pausing all in-person activity for a programme which relies on teams being together. I spent January and February working to create online resources aimed at getting people out of their homes in a way that would benefit their mental health and still be covid safe. When we resumed in-person activity in April, there was a real sense of enthusiasm for volunteering from teams, which we really saw in full force during the Big Community Challenge. 

The Big Community Challenge ran for the whole month of June, engaging over 200 volunteers over 18 separate sessions. This was a real highlight of the year, being able to work with so many teams and organisations over the month, as being able to watch Rowntree Park transform for it’s centenary celebration. Another highlight was our Golden Moments Awards, which recognised the achievements of our employee volunteers. It was quite an emotional event, reflecting on the difficulties we have all faced over the year as well as celebrating the fantastic people that York Cares gets to work with. 

My final highlight has to be working with the York Cares team – we do a lot of shouting about our incredible employee members and community partners, but I would just like to take a minute to shout about our brilliant team. It has been such a privilege working with a group of people who care deeply about the community of York and have taught me an incredible amount about working in the third sector. Holly, Georgia, Meg and Ronan, you have all been so wonderful to work with and thanks for everything you do.