Meet Fawziya, a 16-year-old member of Unitas, Barnet Youth Zone. Fawziya was encouraged to join the Youth Zone by her mum as a way to meet new people and build her skills. Here she talks about her experience at the Youth Zone, and how through her hard work and some support from the Youth Zone she successfully gained a place at the prestigious Brit School.
“I enjoy going to the Youth Zone, it’s such a comforting environment. When I first came to Unitas I was scared because it was a new environment, which is cool, but it’s also quite scary because you don’t know what to expect.
Everyone is really nice, I was first interested in music and I developed a lot of friendships in the music room. I’ve got my little band, I’ve got friends and have built strong connections. Another thing is that my mental health has improved quite a lot. This place forms a little bit of a safe haven, the workers are really supportive about mental health. The staff looked out for me, like an older sibling, making sure I was ok. I felt like I could count on someone in confidence, it’s provided a bit of an escape.
When things were going on in the outside world, I’d come to Unitas to have a good time, to laugh, to talk to people that made me better, in a way it made me stronger. There’s something for everyone, you’ve got a cooking room, sports hall, health and wellbeing, I found my place in music or media.
When I reflect on how I feel now a lot has happened, and a lot has changed for the better. Unitas has given me a lot. It’s nurtured me in a way, a bit like a parent, it’s made me the person I am now. I’ve learnt to get better at photography and that I deeply want to do things like film and media. I got into Brit School, my dream school, because of the Youth Zone and it’s given me a lot of options in life. Where I want to go and who I want to be. It’s been one of the most positive things possible, you get to nurture those skills that you already have.
I’m proud to be me, I probably wouldn’t have realised that if I didn’t come here. I’d say that Fawziya today is on a roll. She’s achieved a lot and there’s so much more that she’s got ahead of her. I learnt a lot about myself, I grew my self-worth and I hold myself to my values. For context, my name means victory and success in Arabic and those things I hold myself to. I’m looking for nothing but victory and success. This is where it starts, maybe in the future when I’m giving an awards acceptance speech I’ll say ‘this is dedicated to Unitas for getting me here!”