I first heard about LYP when I started at Therfield school in year 7. Two of the youth workers did an assembly inviting us to BFree after school and so my friend and I decided to go that afternoon. I remember being very nervous to go in the first time! However, it ended up being a place I went to every week throughout my time at school, I enjoyed it so much.
I really appreciated the youth workers because unfortunately I went through a time of being badly bullied at school and so being able to speak to them at the end of the day was incredibly helpful and gave me something to look forward to. It was a great incentive to know that if I could just get through those hours at school I would feel such relief by being at BFree and being able to do something I wanted to do.
From going to BFree, I was able to access one to one support, which was incredibly helpful. At the age of 12 or 13 I began struggling with my mental health. This caused me to feel very low and isolated at times. I would say there was a time I did not have a single friend and so going to BFree meant I felt safe as I could be with the youth workers and people from other schools.
LYP runs lots of different projects and I was also able to attend Making Good, Freestyle (a residential camp) and complete my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award. I learnt so many skills I wouldn’t have otherwise gained and was happy to meet new friends along the way.
Since leaving school 5 years ago, I have begun a career as a Performer, which has seen me sing and perform in front of hundreds of people. I guess you could say LYP have helped with my confidence and self-esteem because comparing myself now to who I was in year 7, I never would’ve thought I’d be able to do a job like that.
Recently I’ve had some friends approach me asking about how I manage my mental health as they know it’s a journey I’ve been on for a while. This led me to write down some coping techniques to send to them and after some time I decided I would collate everything I’d found helpful and it turned into a book I’ve now released. I feel lucky when I look back at the support I’ve had and how I’m now able to offer that to others. I hope that others can get the support that I got from LYP.