Get Into Summer – Jacqui’s Volunteer Blog

One of our volunteers, Jacqui talks about having fun during our summer 2021 programme with a trip to Edinburgh Zoo.

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I had a great day out at Edinburgh Zoo supporting the parents and children who came to see the animals and have some fun.  There was lots of laughter as the kids ran around getting to know each other, making new friends while the parents chatted and made new connections. I’m sure there were lots of happy memories made on the day, seeing their favourite animals and some new strange ones too – like the giant Ant Eater.

The highlight for me was connecting with one of the kids in my group’s bubble who was very anxious when he arrived and needed reassuring to encourage him to join the group in the main room of the Mansion House (a beautiful building which housed the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland no less).

Once we got chatting I set him a mission to find the penguins and get lots of great photos to show me when we met back at lunch time which he did with great pride, so we agreed another challenge for the afternoon – to find the rhinoceros! To see him open up and really enjoy the day was fantastic – we ended the day together with him stirring my coffee for me, such a caring wee boy.

Speaking to members as we walked around the zoo was a great informal way to hear about their experiences and current situations and learn what had helped them the most  (the support of one person committed to them – a social worker for a number of years),  and what they would like to see changed within the care system (better matching of children and carers to allow them to remain in more familiar environments).

At the end of the day there were lots of tired little people being wheeled out in their buggies and equally tired parents still standing (just about) after a full-on day but one that was agreed to be a great success and lots of fun, we were even lucky with the weather and only suffered one big downpour.

A privilege to be included to support the great work of the organisation.