Our Participation and Development Manager, Leigh Culverwell, is allowing us a sneak peak of her diary from a recent Blackburn Youth Zone young person’s field trip to London. Welcome to part two…
My alarm going off at 8am was not quite as unwelcome as the thought of going to wake up our (probably sleep deprived) young people…I was pleasantly surprised to find them all awake and excited to go and explore the big smoke! The young people decided that a hearty McDonalds was the best way to kick start a day of sight-seeing, so it was Double Sausage & Egg McMuffins all round, whilst we discussed our plan of action for the day. We headed to Waterloo Tube Station and picked up our pre-booked (thanks to our Administration Manager, Sharon) tickets to go on the London Eye. This was a fantastic way to show the young people London from one of the most panoramic points…(as well as one of our young people, Jade, being super brave and coming face to face with her fear of heights)…
The excitement of being in London was on a high as we got off the London eye – next stop…Madame Tussauds! I think I had a finger ache after coming out of Madame Tussauds with all the photos I’d taken of young people with their wax work idols, from sports stars to music stars – we didn’t hold back with the photo opportunities! (Ok, ok…Blackburn Youth Zone staff were just as bad!). Everyone agreed what a brilliant choice of place it was to go, thanks to our young people – as we also got to see a 5D film and a ‘taxi ride’ through the history of London.
After working up an appetite posing, we refuelled with lunch in a central London cafe whilst trying to decide how best to fill our afternoon before the show later in the evening (woo!). Ali suggested going to one of his favourite childhood places, Trocadero. This turned out to be the best suggestion possible, as we walked in to find a free for all dance session going on…dancers of all different styles had come together to dance, teach and skill share. Our young people were struck with a sense of awe and inspiration, and before long they were joining in with the dancers, showing off what they could do, but also calling on expertise of other dancers to teach them new moves and styles. What a great way to get the excitement flowing for the show!
I just have to get this next bit into my diary (and yes, in the words of the young people I ‘would not shut up about it’)…but, on the way back to the hostel to get changed, getting off the tube, I BUMPED INTO VIVIENNE WESTWOOD! Oh yes, there she was – Viv – in all her glory, casually strolling into St Pauls tube station!!! The young people did not have a clue who she was, or why I was so ecstatic, so they thought I was being slightly weird and OTT, but I mean come on…Vivienne Westwood! Anyway…certainly was one of my highlights!
After a quick costume change (and I had sent my picture of me and Viv to my entire phonebook)…we made our way over to the Peacock Theatre to watch ‘Some Like It Hip Hop’…the show was absolutely incredible, and completely exceeded everyone’s already high expectations. The young people found the show completely mesmerising, inspiring, and moved them to want to dance even more…(Job done!). After the show the perfect end to a perfect day came as the young people went to the stage door and got to meet the cast. Programmes were at the ready to be signed, and plenty of photos were taken. Young people got to chat to the dancers along with Waterloo Road star Tachia Newall (Bolton Smiley). They can’t wait to start their dance lessons with Darran Pritchard upon our return to Blackburn!
We really have had the perfect day in London today, everyone has had so much fun, seen and tried new things, and most importantly, the young people have found something totally inspirational. Do we really have to go home tomorrow?!