February – a month of first’s

Well, what a month it’s been! From exam pressure to writing e – bulletins to making visits across the region, it definitely has been a month of first’s.

Being my first full time job, there are some things I’m getting used to such as the early starts! Look, I’ve been a student for most of my life so I was used to getting up whenever I wanted. In all honesty though, when you have to wake up for something you know you’re gonna enjoy doing it’s not that bad is it? Coming into the office, the first thing you notice is Charlie Brown, the office dog, who is sat at the top of the stairs waiting for people to come in and greeting them, bless him. We’ve actually become really close which for those of you know me will be surprised at how much I’m starting to love the dog!

Another first was my visit up to Carlisle and Penrith. You know I always thought Blackburn was the coldest place on the world (OK, OK, not the world but definitely one of the coldest place in Britain) but Blackburn is like Spain compared to the weather of Carlisle and Penrith! The weather might have been cold but the people were amazing – I went to go see 5 different organisations, some of whom work directly with young people and others who worked more generally with community groups but the work being done in that part of our region is fantastic. I’ve always said this and will continue to say it – the North West is the Best!! We have such fantastic pieces of work and such friendly people. Coming from Blackburn (which has a large percentage of Ethnic Minorities) to going to somewhere like Carlisle (which has an extremely small percentage of Ethnic Minorities) it was a bit of a shock to see the differences but I loved it! Everyone was so polite and nice and it was good to have some different food rather than chappitti’s and curry’s!

How’s this for a first? February saw somewhereto_ North West take over an empty shop and transform it into a performance space for young people in Blackburn Town Centre which was really exciting and fun! The team here in the office only had one week to pull the event off and I was working well into each evening to make sure the young people who wanted to perform were ready and up for it. I think it’s safe to say that if you were to ask anyone who stopped by our shop that weekend will say it was a success. We had the Lancashire Telegraph and BBC Radio Lancashire cover the story as well as the Deputy Mayor of Blackburn coming out to show his support. Dancers, singers, rappers, actors and even magicians all aged 16 – 25 showcased their skills and by the end of it you had one very tired Jaf who needed a day to just rest from it. Check out the pictures below to see the shop in action. We’re hopefully headed off to Penrith and Carlisle to set up another pop up shop there during the Easter break which we’re in full flow planning

Anyway guys and gals, I’m going to have to go because there’s loads of work to be getting on with but it’s always nice to leave my thoughts with you. Take care for now and be sure to check back next month for a further update.

Doing the Cha Cha Slide

Young person looking at me as I do the Cha Cha Slide in a weird and bizarre way