First meeting with my Mentor and attendance at County Council Planning Committee meeting. Before the experience I was not feeling confident, that I might be ‘out of my depth’ and wondered whether I would understand the procedures at the meeting. I was worried that I might just say something completely stupid. My mentor met me at reception and accompanied me into the Council Chamber, and sat with me, which was good because he explained the procedures throughout the meeting and I was able to ask him questions as they came to mind. This also gave me a little bit more confidence about being in a venue where I felt out of place. I learned loads from the experience – about the procedures for planning applications to get as far as a Council Planning Committee, about the make-up of Council Committees and the election of their chairperson, about the recording of the decisions made and how to find out when the committee meets and what decisions are to be discussed. I had never previously attended any Council committee meeting, so just watching the procedures was a learning experience in itself, but it was enhanced by having my mentor available to explain what was happening. I enjoyed the experience greatly, far more than I expected, and I believe I now have the confidence to attend other committee meetings open to the public, if I have an interest in the subject being debated. We then had a brief meeting to discuss the Scheme and for my mentor to discover what I hoped to get from the scheme; I had a chance to ask a few questions about his history and experience as a Councillor, and we discussed this all with another Councillor present… I was pleased to feel sufficiently confident to make conversation with a group of people I hadn’t previously spent much time with, and to spend the day out of my ‘comfort zone’ being in unfamiliar surroundings. This ‘day out’ was good for my confidence, for the reasons stated previously, and I felt I was amongst people who were prepared to listen to what I had to say.