“I’m Andrew* I’m 18 and I joined Inspire, Chorley Youth Zone 18 months ago and am now one of Inspire’s young leaders. I struggle with mental illnesses that includes anxiety and depression. I initially joined Inspire for the wellbeing support and the mentoring they have available. I was in an unproductive routine and had an inactive lifestyle. I became a recluse, after school I would come home and stay in my room. It didn’t help my friendships. My deputy head at school recommended Inspire as he thought it would improve my confidence. It was Michelle that invited me and showed me around, and I haven’t looked back since.
I found lockdown really difficult. Inspire Youth Zone started engaging with me with welfare calls and activities to keep me occupied. I had told them that I previously had one evening of self-harming and suicidal thoughts. Inspire has implemented a full action plan for me. I am now getting professional counselling which is helping me to adapt to a new way of living and dedicated Inspire youth work supported me through doorstep visits, mentoring and welfare calls.
When I first joined Inspire, I was unconfident, unsociable and anxious. I would regularly avoid social situations. I could probably pin-point the moment there was a turning point and it was during the Lake District residential. We did a lot of team-building activities that enabled me to socialise with new people. My confidence and ability to talk to people has improved so much since then.
In March 2018, my Auntie came to live with me as she was really ill, soon after she passed away. I struggled to manage my grief and Inspire came at a really ideal time. I would go to the centre and engage with all the activities which helped take my mind off it. I felt comfortable talking to the staff members and I got into gym fitness. It wasn’t easy but having Inspire and the staff helped and motivated me. Off the back of this confidence I started getting involved in more of the Inspire projects. This includes – Youth Voice, Debate Club and UK Youth. Debate Club was my own initiative. I thought it would be a great idea at Inspire to have a session dedicated to giving young people an opportunity to discuss topical issues. I wouldn’t have even given this a thought before Inspire. I have always had an interest in politics, but it never advanced as much as an idea until I started Debate Club. Thanks to the staff who agreed it would make a good session it has been really successful, and we even continued it virtually during lockdown.
I’ve also been involved with the mentoring programme with Michael and that has helped me talk confidently and openly about my problems and if my mental health is struggling. Since attending Inspire, my potential has grown, and I feel more grown up. I see the help to the community that Inspire has and I want to do the same. I never used to be like that. Inspire helped me with key skills and CV writing ahead of job applications and interviews. I’ve now got a few positive prospects lined up that include; media projects, local jobs and apprenticeships.”
*name has been changed