Children set to take over organisations for a day

The Oxford Times: Sam Bailey, 15, will be helping to run things at Helen and Douglas House in Oxford Buy this photo » Sam Bailey, 15, will be helping to run things at Helen and Douglas House in Oxford

CHILDREN across Oxfordshire will be shown how organisations including charities, theatres, youth hubs and businesses are run for this year’s Takeover Day.

At East Oxford hospice Helen and Douglas House, the youngsters who will be taking charge are among those who are cared for at the respite hospice.

Sam Bailey, 15, from Wantage, who has Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, will be among those taking part tomorrow.

Along with the rest of the children and young people, he will carry out an environmental audit of the hospice, work in finance, fundraising and ICT, and take part in a press conference with hospice founder Sister Frances Dominica.

Sam, a pupil at King Alfred’s Academy, said: “I’m really looking forward to it.

“I would like to get a job in the future, possibly in IT, and I think this will be good work experience. I think it will be funny and a good laugh, but at the same time very helpful in the long run,” he added.

His mum, Penny Bailey, said it would give her son the kind of opportunities he would not normally have due to his condition.

She said: “It’s good for him to actually go into an adult setting and mix in an office environment and just find out what goes on in this kind of place.”

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Sam uses a wheelchair but, at the moment, his condition – which causes progressive muscular degeneration – does not stop him from talking, writing, using a computer or going to a mainstream school.

At the Pegasus Theatre in Magdalen Road, East Oxford, 34 children are getting involved in everything from marketing, to running the café and box office, and taking charge at an inter-generational arts day.

Participation officer Martha Baker, who has helped the youngsters organise their roles, said: “Pegasus is built on a foundation of youth participation and it is very important to continue with that.

“For the young people, it is really good for them to have an insight into the working world and what goes on behind the scenes at Pegasus.”

Thirteen-year-old Spike Asri, from Abingdon, will help run the inter-generational arts event, create posters to market it, and take part in a radio interview.

He said: “I think it’s fun and it will teach children to run a business in the future.

“It’s a sign Pegasus is putting faith in its children and in the new generation.”

The seven youth hubs around Oxfordshire are also taking part.

Youngsters will take over Banbury hub and stage a gig for up to 200 young people tomorrow.

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