A blog from Army&You’s winter 2023/24 edition by Michelle Morgan

I’m the Army Welfare Service Community Development Worker (CDW) in Woodbridge, Suffolk. I’ve been here for nine years and did the same role in Germany for 10 years before moving back to the UK.

My responsibilities include planning, co-ordinating and running play, youth and community projects, as well as clubs, residentials and work in schools, supporting service children, young people and their families.

Much of our term-time provision is offered after hours. Then the school holidays are hectic! It’s a full-time role and it’s important to maintain a good worklife balance, especially with two young children at home myself!

The thing I enjoy most about my role is engaging with young people and providing them with activities and opportunities. Recognising the passion and enthusiasm young people have for influencing change and taking ownership in their community, and helping to facilitate that, can be so rewarding. It’s also really cool to think up new, fun things for young people to do!

I was inspired by my dad, who was in the army, serving for 37 years with the Royal Tank Regiment. I remember going to youth club in Germany and it was a great place to get support when I needed it.

Growing up, I didn’t know exactly the type of work I wanted to do, and this was a change from what I thought I wanted to do, but I had positive influences in my life who inspired me to pursue a career in youth work.

I know what it’s like when a parent goes away on tour for six months, or is away on exercise a lot, so to be able to support young people and families going through the same thing is really fulfilling.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to working with young people and families and each group you work with needs a tailored, planned approach.

It isn’t as simple as just opening up and playing table tennis and pool, there’s much more to it than that, especially with the transient nature of the communities we find ourselves working with.

My job has taught me to be empathetic, understanding and patient. You also need to be a good communicator, organised, creative and, most important of all, to be fun!

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