My journey with Incredible Kids began a decade ago when I started to attend their play sessions as a sibling of a young boy with additional needs.
From a young age, Incredible Kids was a safe space for me to be myself with the added security of support and guidance for my brother and mum when it was needed. I always enjoyed hearing that we were going to be spending our Saturday surrounded by supportive and understanding families.
Incredible Kids’ playworkers always made sure that I was entertained and was receiving attention – something that there wasn’t much time for at home due to my brother requiring a lot of support from the whole family. Whether it was board games, crafts or just having a conversation, I always appreciated the time that Incredible Kids staff gave to me.
Incredible Kids has had many venues in the past decade. I joined back when we were providing support out of a local church in Bristol. We then changed locations to an old office building in Thornbury before moving to a building situated by the Severn Bridge, which is the building in which I went from an Incredible Kids member to an official employed playworker.
Before I decided to be a playworker at aged 15, I would spend a lot of my time looking after the other children who attended the Saturday play sessions. I got the honour of looking after Josiah (pictured with me to the left) and watching him grow from a few months old to the smart young man he is today. It’s opportunities like this that make me very grateful for Incredible Kids. Despite how hard it had been caring for my older brother my whole life, I got to experience things I wouldn’t have done so if the support wasn’t there.
Once I became an Incredible Kids Playworker, I supported children through countless enjoyable hours of doing make-up, nails, crafts, milkshake-making and active games around The Vench Adventure Playground, where Incredible Kids is based now. To make sure that the parents felt listened to, I made the effort to remember what they’d told me about their life so that I could catch up with them the next week and have a genuine and informed chat about how they were feeling.
I moved to Gloucester and therefore sadly can no longer attend play sessions but my favourite part of being a playworker was the joy on the faces of the children when they heard that we were making slime, having a fire pit or playing a massive game of hide and seek.
Everyone who attends Incredible Kids is very special and unique, there’s never a dull moment for anyone involved. Witnessing children let go and supporting them to be themselves is a huge part of what makes the job so wonderful.
I hope that Incredible Kids can provide the same, safe haven for you and your family as it has done for myself and many other families.