10 years at Salmon: Vicky’s story
Born and bred in Bermondsey, Vicky Razzell first found out about Salmon as a young person through her local school. Now 33, Vicky has recently celebrated ten years of working and volunteering at Salmon and has no plans of stopping any time soon! Here’s her story…
I used to come to Salmon with my school once a week. I went to a special needs school for my dyslexia, called Spa School. I found out I had dyslexia when I was about 12 after they did an assessment. I could read and write but I would get stuck on certain words. The primary school I went to couldn’t be bothered to help, or the secondary school so they moved me to Spa.
In my heart I felt I shouldn’t be in that school. I felt like I never had special needs. Reading and writing wasn’t special needs, it’s just one of those things. I didn’t feel like I belonged in there. I made a couple of friends but I mainly kept myself to myself.
Salmon was quite big when I first came. In the old building there were two floors of football pitches, which I loved. Football was my only thing at the time but I started getting into other things. I kept coming back every week. I felt okay when I was at Salmon.
Going to college
At 16, I went to Southwark College to study Catering. The course I wanted to do in sports was full up so I chose something else. I can cook well but only when I feel like it. I didn’t finish the course; I ended up dropping out of college because of family issues.
Spa School got me into judo and martial arts to release everything at the time. I started competing when one of the coaches spotted me and said I was quite good. I’ve won the nationals at Judo, where you represent your club at a national level, and I’ve come second out of 20 people. I plan to get all my badges for judo and my NVQ Level 1 & 2 so I can start my own judo club in future.
Coming back to Salmon
I ended up coming back to Salmon because I knew one of the employees, Sam, who used to be one of my teachers at Spa – he wasn’t the Director of Salmon then. I spoke to him and asked him if they had any volunteer positions going at Salmon. He said come down and try it out and I just kept it up ever since. I tried out 6-9s volunteering first, then football coaching, then doing the other sessions. The volunteering kept me busy and out of trouble.
I didn’t know if I would like working with young people or not but I just kept it up and I really enjoy it now. Seeing the 6-9s going home happy makes me feel great. I also pick up the kids for Mixables club and do drop-offs back to their homes. We do pickups of some of the kids from Spa, my old school, so sometimes it feels weird going there.
Becoming a staff member
I’ve now been volunteering at Salmon for 10 years. A few years into my volunteering, Sam put me forward for the cleaning role here at Salmon, which I’ve been doing on a part-time basis for the past seven or eight years. I work at Salmon five days a week doing cleaning, and four of those days doing volunteering. I do an hour a day of cleaning.
If it wasn’t for Salmon, I would just be hanging around the streets getting up to no good or I’d be sitting indoors watching boring telly. What I like most about Salmon is that if I’m down I can speak to any member of staff and they would listen. Salmon is like my second home and my second family.