After making the one-and-a-half-hour journey to Everton, we arrived at the Shewsy at 5pm and were welcomed by the Warden, Revd Henry Corbett, who oversaw our itinerary for the rest of the trip. After a talk about the history of the Shewsy (which was interesting as some students were Sixth Form new entrants so therefore didn’t know a huge amount about the Club), we then had supper before Senior Club.
Senior Club began at 7pm and we met about 30 teenagers aged between 13 and 17. The sports hall was a great place to play football and therefore interact with the Club members in a friendly and immediate way. Darts and pool were also popular and a good way to find a common ground straight away and made the introductions less intimidating for both parties.
After the Seniors had gone home by 10pm, we had the Club to ourselves and finished with an all-inclusive game of darts and went to our rooms at 11pm.
On the Wednesday morning the girls cooked breakfast for the boys, Mr Payne and Mrs Mitchell. Hattie oversaw scrambled eggs; Mollie and I oversaw bacon (which was harder than originally thought as we aren’t experienced gas oven users!); Ella oversaw brewing everyone a cup of tea; and Candi and Nina laid the table and toasted the bread. All in all, we worked well and produced a solid breakfast!
We then headed into Liverpool where we arrived at the Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts. Here we were briefed by the policeman at the door on how to act in the rooms and what cases were on that day. Mollie, Alex, Sam and I saw a case of domestic abuse where the woman pleaded guilty, which was interesting as the defendant made it clear she was guilty which is unusual. There were all sorts of other cases on about crimes and weapons. This whole experience was very valuable, as we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go to this environment on our own.
By this time, it was about 12pm and as Junior club didn’t start until 3pm we had some free time in Liverpool One. We had lunch and some of us went to the Tate Museum, which Hattie and Alex found very interesting as they are both studying Art for A-level. We rendezvoused at the docks and arrived back in time for the Junior Club.
At Junior Club we first took part in the circle time with all the Juniors, who were aged 4-7. Here we said a piece of good news from our day and the Juniors all had a piece of toast. Then their activities started. Some were making Christmas cards, some baking cupcakes and the rest playing football or tag. Junior Club was easier to get involved with at first compared to Senior Club, as the younger children get excited when Shrewsbury Students come to stay. It was very uplifting to see these young children have such a good time doing activities they wouldn’t do at home or school.
After Junior Club a man who worked in court came to speak to us, which was very relevant as we had been to the courts that day. We had the chance to ask questions about the courts and about aspects we didn’t have the chance to understand as we had only been there for an hour.
Wednesday evening brought about our second Senior Club experience, where we built upon the relationships already established the previous night with the Shewsy members. The group dived headfirst into games of pool, darts, football and cards.
A home-cooked fry-up from the boys, followed by a detailed minibus tour given by Henry Corbett, kicked off our final day in fine fashion. On our tour, we visited Everton Park Viewpoint, giving us a breath-taking view over the city and the vast history of trade and exporting held within the docks. Next, we visited the Hillsborough Memorial outside Anfield Stadium, home to Liverpool FC. This moving ceremony gave us a perspective on another part of the history of the city and the injustice served to the 96 fans who never returned home from a football match.
After a drive-by tour of the main industrial centre of the city, we headed back to the Shewsy for a session with John and Duffy, the two main employees and volunteers at the centre.
John and Duffy have been going to the Shewsy ever since their early childhoods, so they were the perfect pair to give us a first-hand insight into the history and evolution of the Shewsy throughout the economic development of Everton. They told us about life inside the Shewsy and the plans that they have for future development, and they answered our questions about the Club. The hour spent with the two dedicated leaders and role-models to the young, learning about the struggles that they have encountered, as well as those of other Club members, was extremely moving and informative. Our group came away from this meeting, and the whole trip in general, feeling extremely privileged and grateful for what had been shared with us over the course of our time at the Shewsy.
Following a brief interlude and quick bite to eat, we reconvened in St Peter’s Church, nextdoor to the Shewsy, for a talk on the politics and history of Liverpool given by Jane Corbett, wife of Revd Henry Corbett and a Labour representative for Everton. She gave us an in-depth account of the history of the area and how it had evolved over time. This talk topped off our education for the trip and it was then time to enjoy our final Junior Club before heading off home.
Junior Club is an excellent time of day for both the children and the helpers as they can relax, play with friends and socialise with new people who they wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for the Shewsy. The thing that stands out most about Junior Club is how pleasant and polite everyone is; everyone got along well and there was no exclusion from any games. The collectiveness of the Shewsy is vital for these children, who may not feel like a member of a strong family at home, but they certainly have a loving family within the Shewsy.
On behalf of Shrewsbury School, we would like to thank the Shewsy for their warm hospitality and inclusiveness. The Shewsy taught us the importance of kindness and generosity, and how such small acts of kindness can have such a huge effect on our community.
Alex Powell and Laura Elliott