“Now, I know who I am and I can see that I have something to offer.”
These are the powerful words of 19 year old Lauren Asher from Dumfries, who credits a Young Start funded project for helping her to find her voice. Lauren who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s, is project team secretary at D&G Youth Project, one of 16 youth led groups which, this week, shared in £1 million of Young Start funding.
D&G Youth Project will use its £85,089 award for its VIP ME initiative providing volunteering, work experience placements, peer mentoring and wellbeing workshops for young people aged between 14 and 25. It’s the second Young Start award for the group which previously received £30,000 to deliver Celebr’18, a project involving young people in the planning and delivery of Year of Young People activities across Dumfries and Galloway.
Lauren, who was part of the original Young Start project, tells us about her journey…
“It would not be an exaggeration to say that being part of Celebr’18 – the Dumfries and Galloway Year of Young People Project Team has changed my life. When I first got involved in this project, I was incredibly shy and didn’t have the confidence to speak to new people or try new things. I had recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s and I was struggling to understand what this meant for me and how I explain it to other people. I was also battling with mental health issues, and didn’t really see any purpose in my life.
Now, I know who I am and I can see that I have something to offer. I know that my Asperger’s makes me who I am and I am not afraid to share my struggles with others to show them that anything is possible.
Celebr’18 has given me the opportunity to flourish, to learn and to grow as a person. It has enabled me to take part in a variety of new experiences that previously I would never have even considered taking part in and would not have been able to without the funding put in place to support us. I have learned that just because something is scary, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad and I am no longer scared to share my views and opinions with others.
This project has given me my life back and I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who have made this possible.”
Young Start provides funding from £10,000 to £100,000 to help children and young people across Scotland become more confident, so they can realise their own potential. If you would like to find out more about Young Start or discuss a project idea you can visit our website or contact us on 0300 123 7110.