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Hello and welcome back to my blog. June was a busy month for me, I got to attend many events and meet many new people. Being out and about is one of my favourite parts of my job, and I am glad I have been able to do more of it.

On the 8th of June, I attended the Next Steps event at Cardiff and Vale College, where I worked with ELITE on a stand at the exhibition. It was a very productive day. The project had a lot of interest from attendees, and I had a great time handing out leaflets and merchandise and telling people more about the project. One of my favourite parts of the day was the entertainment we were treated by students studying Independent Living Skills at the college. The students gave us a fantastic performance from the Greatest Showman, which was inspiring.

The next day I got to travel to Cardiff to visit the Haydn Ellis building, where the National Centre for Mental Health team was hosting a visit from Hefin David, MS. Mr David came to see the Engage to Change Project SEARCH Internship site at Cardiff University to find out more about the work the project does and the impact that it has on young people. My role in the meeting was to greet Mr David and introduce him to the project partners. After he had met the project partners, along with tutor Chris and job coach Geraint, I showed Mr David around the University. He met with two young interns in their placements, Jayden and Hamza. It was great to see the fantastic work they do at their placements at the University.

After Mr David met with the current interns, he also got to speak to two ex-interns and current staff members of the National Centre of Mental Health, Tyler and Andrew. They both talked about how the internship impacted them and what having a job meant. The partners and I then had a short meeting with Mr David, where we discussed the impact of our project and the aims of our legacy. Meeting with Mr David was fantastic. Meeting government members or Ministers always feels important because it gives you pride and self-respect. It is excellent that they are willing to learn more about your work to help reflect on future government policies and legislation. I was thrilled when Hefin David MS mentioned his visit to the internship site a week later in the Senedd plenary session. You can watch a video of this here.

On 21st and 22nd June, I was working in my role as Outreach Worker for All Wales People First at the annual Adfest event. However, it was great to see Engage to Change’s Communications Officer Sophie attend the event and represent E2C. I stopped by the stall for a quick picture! As well as catching up with many other people, I got to catch up with our friends and colleagues from Gig Buddies, which was fantastic.

On the 29th of June, I was highly privileged to have been back to the Engage to Change Project SEARCH Internship at Cardiff University, where I saw the 2021/22 interns graduate from their internship at the council chambers in Cardiff university. It was inspiring to hear what they have achieved on their internship and how much their confidence has grown.
The next day Sophie and I attended the Cwm Taff People First Annual Conference in Merthyr Tydfil.

We delivered two 40-minute workshops about Engage to Change and supported employment to two groups of attendees. The sessions went well, and it was fantastic to hear people share their thoughts and experiences and have the opportunity to share my own story with others.

Over the summer, I am hoping to launch an online club evening. Watch this space!