It was an early start for me this week, leaving home at 5.30am to catch a train into London. I was heading for Bag Books, a south London based charity to create sensory learning aids for children with severe and profound learning disabilities.
I arrived to a very warm welcome and within 10 minutes, I was put to work!
One of the staff member at Bag Books, Sophie got herself into a bit of a pickle. She was creating a new story, the pirates birthday and wanted some help working out the logistics of a new board. So I happily used my creative flare to come up with a solution. You can watch a funny little video of me below doing a "Blue Peter" moment with the board.
After helping Sophie I sat down with Dean, the Chief Exec of Bag Books to help him with their Google Non Profit grant. Dean had previously applied for the grant and been accepted for the $10,000 a month ad words budget but stumbled at the hurdle of successfully setting up and running an ad words campaign. It can be a minefield for many small businesses and charities that don't always have access to knowledge and expertise in this area. I sat with Dean and talked him through how to set up and run a successful campaign online. Re-targeting ads and adding specific keywords to help get maximum exposure. Dean also explained to me that Bag Books was incredibly lucky to have been awarded a 3-year lottery grant 2 years ago, which runs out at the end of this year.
The rest of the week I got on with more craftwork, helping as much as I could with getting pages of the books started or finished. My manly side came out when we used power tools and machinery to cut metal and wood for some of the more complex books. I felt a real sense of masculinity and satisfaction from that task!I was also told about an incredibly valuable part of bag books; their story telling mentors. They have a team of people across the country that take the books and use their pizazz to bring them to life in special schools and libraries across the country.
Can be quick to make judgements on things that they don't know much about and, it's those negative judgements that can have huge effects on the self-esteem of those individuals and their families.
What both Resources for Autism and Bag Books do is nothing short of inspirational. Working and helping both with and towards children and adults with learning disabilities is an incredibly tough but amazingly rewarding job. I am leaving my second week feeling so uplifted and inspired.