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Impact Stories

Benji’s story: “I felt happier and more optimistic after being at the Youth Zone.”

I’d spend five to 10 hours a day on console games. Since I started playing seven years ago I’d say I’ve logged between 5,000 and 10,000 hours on dozens of games. Through Covid I was spending more and more time in my room on video games and less time out with my mates. I’d say I was addicted. You don’t realise how much just staying in your room is setting you back when you could be out experiencing stuff and meeting people. Teenagers just do it because it’s easy, there’s nothing stopping you and it’s just one of things that’s naturalised. Then they end up getting isolated and lonely. I didn’t have any energy for socialising, I couldn’t be bothered going out and found I felt angry and frustrated, so I started attending more sessions at Wigan Youth Zone, mostly playing sports with my friends. Volleyball, football and rock climbing are my favourites. I felt happier and more optimistic after being there, and gaming was beginning to feel boring in comparison. I’m only gaming a couple of times a month now and I’m at the Youth Zone most days. My mental health is much better; I’m not focused on the bad things anymore, I think much more positively and I feel just naturally happy.