by Author Lauren Syrett

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WILD Young Parents Project: partnership working, collaboration and deciding what hat to wear

Working for WILD is only 10 hours of my 'working week', the rest of the time is split between my many other ‘hats’. I quite often use this phrase to describe my freelance career, many different hats, many different job roles/titles and personally I am never in the same place for more than a couple of hours.

Last week I had my annual appraisal. What most people find stressful and anxiety ridden, I actually quite enjoy because it’s a valuable time for self reflection. An opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, make conscious considerations and gain perspective. Amongst other things, utilising my skills was one of the main things to come out of the appraisal. I don’t always utilise the skills that I have in other areas of my professional career - I’m working on it. Not only the skills but the contacts and the people that I work with, whether we’re on first name terms or not, I meet a lot of different people working as a freelancer and I should be using that to my advantage.

So what now, it’s not the first time I’ve heard it or the first time I’ve told myself the same thing so how do I achieve it. Sometimes I feel better if I can see exactly what I do on paper. I already struggle to explain to people what I actually do so if I struggle to understand that myself then I am going to find it difficult to apply my multifaceted career to each and every role I undertake.

In the days that followed my appraisal I made 2 different connections, one of which I had not pre-planned ahead of the meeting, I simply found myself talking to them.

The Story Republic - created by KEAP, funded by Arts Council England and other funders.

I am working with The Story Republic on their new Early Years Project as a movement consultant. The project aims to allow low income families to access high quality storytelling experiences. I have never been a consultant before this contract however the focus and area of skill is not only a specialist subject, it is a great passion of mine.

The Wave Project - The Surf Therapy Charity

The Wave Project help vulnerable children and young people to reduce anxiety and improve confidence through surfing!

On an early (very cold) Sunday morning, my friend ‘dragged’ me along to a recruitment meeting as she was interested in becoming a volunteer with the charity (and she didn’t want to go alone). Within 2 minutes of sitting down, I was filling in my details not knowing anything about the charity, who they work with or what was expected from the volunteers. I sat listening to Katy talk, thinking about all the different young people that I work with both at WILD and in other areas who would benefit from working with The Wave Project and was instantly inspired. I understood the impact that WILD has on the families we work with more, as I listened to Katy talk about her role and the impact The Wave Project is making with such passion.

In both instances, I began to understand that my partnership working was far easier than I had made it out to be. I am connecting with people on a daily basis just wearing a different hat. I am the same person, with the same skills just wearing a variety of very, interesting hats. I know that I still have a lot to work on however I’m excited to progress in my career and my hat collection.

Working together allows for better and higher quality opportunities for all the people that we work with. It is not always about competition and more importantly about collaboration, skill sharing and supporting each other in whatever way we can.