Week one draws to a close

My first week at St. Anne’s is (prematurely, for this week anyway!) over, and already I feel like I’ve learnt a huge amount.

Arriving at the breakfast club on Tuesday morning, in all honesty I was terrified. I was convinced no one would want to be screened for cognitive impairment while they were having their breakfast! But as soon as I arrived the staff made me feel very welcome, and went out of their way to make sure I felt comfortable. It was important to ensure that the service users felt at ease with me, so for a while I just helped out serving tea and toast, chatting to the people who came in. Through this (and the posters I’d designed earlier in the week) I managed to talk about my project with some of the services users, who agreed to be screened. The results of the screening are confidential and so can’t be discussed here, but I will say that they were fascinating. Some of the service users screened even agreed to be screened again at different times, to see how their result changed.

After Tuesday’s unexpectedly productive start, I felt really positive about the results of my project. But, as is usually the way, later on in the week the nature of my project again posed more challenges for me. We’ve been blessed with some beautiful weather over the past few days (even up North) which means that most of the homeless men at Holdforth Court (the hostel where I am carrying out the majority of my screening) were out enjoying the sunshine like the rest of the world. Today, for example, I didn’t manage to screen anyone at all! It is frustrating, but I chose this project because I enjoy a challenge. If the heatwave continues I’ll have to come up with new ways to attract attention to my screening programme. Despite a few setbacks, I’ve definitely learnt a lot this week. I feel much more confident interacting with the service users, and ready for whatever next week throws at me!

For now, though, I’m finishing a little early this week to head down to Brighton to take part in the Trailwalker: The Challenge 2014 for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust this weekend. Wish me luck!!

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