Meet Our Young People
Tom struggled with his confidence and anxiety for as long as he can remember...
Then he began powerlifting and found OPEN. OPEN provided him with the opportunity to “meet new people, create friendships, get fit and focus”. Without the support that OPEN provided, Tom says “I would be lost…would not have met all the amazing people and friends or have been able to learn new skills”. He has come a long way and achieved an incredible amount, competing in this year’s All England Championships, as well as many other events.
Shahan came to OPEN after moving to England from Pakistan 7 years ago...
He was 'always into outdoor sports', but was scared of heights. When he met Dan, OPEN's climbing instructor who Shahan says 'was an inspiration', he was motivated to push himself and became heavily involved with the different classes on offer. He has progressed over the years, and is now a volunteer instructor on many of the courses, teaching young people and adults of all abilities the sport he has grown to love. Without OPEN, Shahan says he 'wouldn't know himself as well', and that his time at OPEN is rewarding and 'keeps him fit'.
Sophie first came to OPEN only 3 months ago, and in that time she says “it has made me feel more confident, feel safe and I always look forward to coming here.”
Sophie takes part in OPEN’s Hive Mind group – a group of young people who are given the opportunity to put on their own gig night in OPEN’s Club room that meets every Thursday. She says the best part about coming is “socialising and playing instruments whilst meeting new people”, and that without having OPEN as a place to come she would most likely be at home “not doing much” or be on her phone. To those who have not yet come to OPEN she simply says “it’s really fun you should definitely come.”
Katie began volunteering with OPEN when it first began after being selected local youth group leaders to represent young people...
During her time she had a variety of volunteering opportunities, such as working with the BBC to create a radio show, meeting with the Education secretary to discuss the issues facing young people, meeting Prince Edward and taking part in the Lord Mayors Procession along with opportunities in employability and education that she says helped her in her future. She says: "Volunteering with OPEN was very useful for job and university applications, as well as helping me complete my Bronze and Gold DofE awards. OPEN helped develop my research and presentation skills, which I still use regularly to this day". She is now an equine vet, even being chosen as the official vet for the Norfolk Show.
Tomas says he "can't imagine life without OPEN"...
"It's given me new friends and amazing opportunities like the launch of our poetry anthology" he says. Tomas volunteers at OPEN, whilst also participating in numerous groups and activities himself. His favourite group is OPEN Creatives - a creative writing group run for young people aged 9 and over. He says "it has been amazing, it's allowed me to open up and participate in poetry".
Watch Tomas perform 'Tell My Ghost', a poem he wrote as part of the OPEN Creatives group that was featured in the OPEN Creatives Anthology:
James first came to OPEN aged 10 in 2012, and struggled with anxiety.
Since then he has always revolved around the climbing wall with Dan, OPEN’s climbing instructor.
Coming to OPEN has helped improve his confidence in all aspects of his life, especially socially. It has also helped him gain valuable skills that have helped him chose his path and go on to study at City College and start a new job at Whitlingham.
Without OPEN, James feels he wouldn’t be in the job or college course he currently is in and feels he would still struggle with anxiety and his social skills.
His favourite part about coming to OPEN is the support of the staff. “They will always find time to talk and help, giving great advice or pointing me in the right direction.”
To someone thinking of coming to OPEN, James would say “don’t be afraid to talk to people, everyone is friendly and have probably been through similar experiences with either anxiety, depression or other mental health problems. They will be keen to help you and give advice.”
Emily first came to OPEN around a year and a half ago.
She now takes part in several dance and drama groups, including OPEN’s contemporary dance group.
Since she first started, she says her confidence has improved, and that if she hadn’t come to OPEN she “wouldn’t be the full person” that she is now. Emily says her favourite part about coming to OPEN is ‘meeting new people and doing the different activities she does.’
When asked what she would say to someone thinking of coming to OPEN, Emily said “I definitely recommend it, it’s a great confidence boost and a good way to have fun and meet new people.”
Violet takes part in various groups in OPEN’s music programme, including the Hive-Mind music promotion group.
She first started in November 2018, and in just that time she says “it has helped me to build up confidence and to include my ideas! I’ve also met lots of lovely people through OPEN.” She says “OPEN is a lovely environment, and the people are very welcoming. I also love having the opportunities to put my ideas into various activities and events”, and that without the charity she “wouldn’t be open to so many nice opportunities.” She says other young people should come to OPEN as “it’s a brilliant chance to socialise with new people! There are lots of activities to suit different people”.