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Hi, my name is Josh and i’m 17 years old. I’ve been with YMCA Right Here for 6 months!

I’ve been asked to keep this short… well here goes nothing 🙂

Gosh where do I start, I first heard of Right Here at the #IAMWHOLE mental health champions launch event where I met Lucy [Right Here Engagement & Participation Coordinator] who taught me maths in year 8, so I signed myself up right there and then. My experience with #IAMWHOLE champions has been really uplifting and provided me with the opportunity to take on a little bit of a leadership role, and as Elena [Right Here Engagement & Participation Coordinator] could tell you, it’s no secret that I enjoyed it! On top of that it provided my team and I the chance to make a change in our college, and from our passions arose ‘Stressbusters’, our Instagram account which aims to help students learn how to relieve stress and anxiety around exams. The account is still up and running and I’m still posting on it. Unfortunately, due to covid-19 a lot of things were cancelled, and our meetings were moved online. The #IAMWHOLE champions programme led me to volunteer for Right Here.

So, let’s move on to Right Here. I don’t think there’s a better way of describing the relationships that we have as a group than as a little family, we truly are. I may have only been with the group for 6 months but in that short space of time I’ve volunteered for countless opportunities and have been able to experience so many great things, as well as meet so many amazing people. Right Here has been and continues to be so enlightening and uplifting, Right Here provides us with a space where we can utilise our individual skills and opinions to make a lasting change. As we all do at Right Here, we all have our favourite memories of events that we have done! I remember mine – I was actually alone, it was a hot summers day and I had to walk all the way to BHASVIC college from Preston Park as it was the freshers fair and I was there with Lucy and Elena, and maybe it’s my favourite because of the free pizza hehe, I enjoyed it a lot as I got to speak to all sorts of amazing students and people, it was my first ‘practical’ if you like.

Before I end this, I would like to tell you about my first 1-1 encounter with Elena. Elena had asked me if I would be happy to participate in a piece of research that she had been asked to do for Young Healthwatch [another Right Here project] about young BAME people’s experiences of sexual health services. I remember this day quite clearly because it was a little strange for me talking to someone (who at the time was merely a stranger) about my experiences of sexual health services. But the questions and the research that Young Healthwatch was doing was really interesting! I was asked questions about advertising and whether I’d accessed certain services, and what I thought. That was simply the beginning of some of the amazing things that I have gotten to do as a volunteer, for instance we actually got to look at a Healthwatch survey around GP services and change it to be more friendly and orientated for young people.

Download Exploring the views and experiences of young people from BAME (black, asian, and minority ethnic groups) backgrounds around local sexual health services

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