In this blog post, we catch up with Tramshed Parent Julie Ellison
So, I’m sitting pondering how to start a blog and I think it goes something like this……..
Zac: Julie please can you write a blog for our page
Me: Yes, of course not a problem
Zac: Julie how is the blog going, I need it by Friday?
Me: It’s all in hand……..
I then start to wonder what a BLOG actually is and in true me style turn to Google!! I am reliably informed that it is something like a discussion published on the www. A BLOG is discrete (you will laugh if you know me!!) written in a diary like format – I can do that. More importantly it says you must have a passion for what you write about – now this I can definitely do!!
TramShed for us is a real family affair. I am Mum to Meggie, 10, who attends South Pier workshops, Jude, 13, who attends Central Pier workshops and also step Mum/ESM (evil stepmother) to Eve, Arts Practitioner. (The ESM bit is a standing joke, please don’t take offense!!)
Eve first introduced us to TramShed in January 2018 when she started as a volunteer. Every weekend she would tell us how amazing it was and how much Jude and Meggie would love it. She got us tickets to see ‘Beside the Seaside’ in July 2018 and from then on we were hooked!! The show took me on a roller coaster of emotions that night and I remember getting home, filling in application forms for Jude and Meggie and emailing Zac straight away about what we had just seen “……….we were in awe of it all!! The inclusivity was just superb!!”
Both Jude and Meggie joined TramShed in September 2018 and took to workshops like ducks to water! Monday nights never came soon enough for either of them. They both got an extra night seeing their big sister Eve, they loved the way they were included in all activities, were encouraged to be themselves, got freedom away from parents, they both got a pork pie on the way (this is a big deal in a vegan household!!) and Meggie got her weekly Zac fix (even better than a pork pie!)
Jude’s TramShed life began with him being in the same group as his sister Meggie which was a huge confidence builder for him. He has always been very protective over Meggie (she has Down Syndrome) and often feels he needs to look after her despite our encouragement to ‘let her be’. Seeing her in a group liaising with other children and adults has let Jude be himself and move away from the ‘young carer’ role. His self-esteem has grown massively and he has built up good friendships within the TramShed circle. Jude has now moved up into an older group and has continued to flourish despite everything being online.
Both Jude and Meggie joined TramShed in September 2018 and took to workshops like ducks to water! Monday nights never came soon enough for either of them.
So, in the words of a 13 year old………… Jude, what have been your…
Challenges – the dances have sometimes been hard, but with enough practice they have got easier to do.
Achievements – going to Lytham Proms and performing with Sheridan Smith, performing on stage in shows with lots of people watching, Bronze Arts Award, being interviewed for Children in Need by Lancashire Radio.
New Skills – learnt how to use zoom and say to people “you’re on mute!”
What worked well – despite the global pandemic we have still been able to do everything just as normal but via computer. Everything can still be done online.
What didn’t work well – can’t think of anything.
Hopes and dreams – to do my Silver Arts Award, to meet back in person!!
Meggie has thrived at TramShed. She has just become one of the crowd, which as a parent of a child with SEND is what you strive for. Inclusivity is at the heart of TramShed – there are no barriers for anyone at all. Meggie is expected to do everything the other children do – success is achieved through differentiation and support. TramShed does not acknowledge disability, they look at different ability which is a breath of fresh air. Meggie has become incredibly independent (sometimes she needs reigning in!!) and has certainly developed an incredible mischievous personality. She loves everyone at TramShed but as her ‘go to’ favourites are men and beards no one stands a chance against Zac!!!
Meggie has thrived at TramShed. She has just become one of the crowd, which as a parent of a child with SEND is what you strive for. Inclusivity is at the heart of TramShed – there are no barriers for anyone at all.
So in the words of a 10 year old……….. Meggie, what have been your…
Challenges – not seeing my friends at TramShed.
Achievements – winning TramShed’s Got Talent, being in TramShed shows on stage.
New Skills – learning lots of new signs, doing a 21 Day BSL challenge at home and performing ‘Stay with Me’ for charity.
What worked well – loved sign language workshops, seeing Eve on screen during lockdown.
What didn’t work well – having to sit still during online workshops (!!) not seeing everyone each week.
Hopes and dreams – go back to TramShed, see Zac, eat pork pies!!!
So, despite being branded as The Evil Stepmother, what can I say about Eve??!! Going from volunteer to Arts Practitioner, she has blossomed and bloomed into the most amazing young lady possible. Eve has the most natural ability to work with people of all ages and abilities seeing the best in everyone. She nurtures every ounce of talent from students and believes in their individual potential. TramShed has no doubt played a huge part, not only in this, but also in developing her confidence and self-belief. I am not ashamed to say I cried buckets watching her singing solos throughout ‘TramShed Express’!! She is funny and caring and we are so proud she is part of our family.
As a parent I completely take my hat off to the whole crew of TramShed. Your online workshops during lockdown have become part of our weekly routine and I will certainly miss playing rubber chicken and zip, zap zoom!! Your outtakes have been truly hilarious, yet another reminder that we are all human and we all love a giggle!! Tina’s camera and chair incidents, Zac going downstairs, Eve and the ice cream van to name but a few. Emma and Vicky, I feel you are the sane ones!!
And now I will stop in fear of boring you all – in fact if you got this far I am impressed!! TramShed you rock!! Being apart has been made bearable knowing that in the not so distant future, you will all be back together doing what you do best – inspiring, believing and achieving.
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