somewhereto_ inspire. This is worth the read!!!
I got in touch with somewhereto_ in 2011 just a few weeks after my father had been brutally murdered, it was the most trying and difficult time of my life. I was falling slowly into depression and really couldn’t see a way out.
My older brother who is a keen footballer always spoke of his mentor who helped him find spaces to play football as well as keep him on the straight and narrow. I told him I needed to volunteer or do something to keep myself busy, he told me to get in touch with Terence who is well known in the community and should be able to help.
On contacting him he told me about somewhereto_ and that we should meet for an informal chat. To be honest with you I thought I was ready for space but Terence didn’t think I was… and he was right! For at least the first 3-6 months we had nothing to do with space itself, it was more about me as a person, about supporting the more pressing issues I had; and looking back now I see why he took that route. Terence offered the broad kind of support I needed in order to prepare me for anything else. In this time I also became homeless, but he used his networks and knowledge to point me in the right direction and get me the support and advice I needed. Now I have my own flat and living independently.
Once ready and my confidence was up he introduced me to so many people I would only have dreamt of meeting. I was exposed to a world I only heard existed, my thinking changed, my attitude changed, my outlook changed, my confidence changed and I now felt worthy in my community for the first time. What was beautiful was that everyone could see the change and I felt alive. I knew my dad was proud and looking down on me.
Then came space, space and more space. My interest was media and entertainment, so I was given a space to be heard on BBC Radio (that was out of this world). Then I did Newstyle radio, did some work at URBRUM Magazine. I was on a roll.
After, I moved onto events; looking back at where I started - who would think I’d be working for the Clothes Show in Birmingham, on Birmingham Sports and Cultural Day, and involved in the organising for acts for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Because of my activity people valued my opinion and so I was invited to sit on youth panels for Envision and Foyer Federation, feeling like I had a full time job even though it was all voluntary, but it prepared me and helped shape me, and all the time I knew I was appreciated by somewhereto_ and Terence.
The time has gone went quickly, I’m still on a high, still buzzing and I’m deeply involved in most of the somewhereto_ projects in Birmingham. Terence helped me with job application forms, interview techniques and was generally just the mentor I needed, always there when I needed him and it didn’t matter if it wasn’t about spaces.
With a CV looking really active with all the stuff I’ve done with somewhereto_ I felt more confident to apply for better jobs. I applied for a croupier position at a casino and was successful, with my experience working with people, customer service etc certainly having the biggest impact on getting this job.
I can’t thank somewhereto_ enough, Terence has been a rock not just for me but for loads of young people in Birmingham. I love somewhereto_ and its approach to young people, there’s no pressure, its real, they never over-promise, and the feeling that they understand that young people are at different stages of their lives when they get in touch, it doesn’t deter the support. Space or no space you’re still relevant and they will stick with you until you’re ready or do get your space. I tell everyone that somewhereto_ changed my life, that’s why I always say, “somewhereto_, it’s more than just space!”
somewhereto_ helps young people access space and supports them to make their ideas, activities and enterprises happen. If you’re aged 16-25 in the UK, find your space for free at http://somewhereto.com/.
somewhereto_ is funded by a £7m injection from the Big Lottery Fund, granted in December 2012 to support its UK-wide expansion over the following four years