How does Link-Up help you feel part of a community?
When I join Link-Up, I know there will be familiar, friendly faces and that makes me feel like part of a supportive community. I know I can be in a space where I can relate to others and they can relate to me. It feels like a safe space, too.
I look forward to meeting with some new faces and interacting with like-minded people who I’ve met with in the past.
As Link-Up is open to people from across England, it’s also a great way to connect and create friendships with people who you have things in common with outside of Link-Up, even if they’re from different areas. This means that, although the community isn’t in the same place, we can feel a sense of togetherness.
Another thing that makes me feel like part of a community when I join Link-Up is the fact that, although we are all there because we are part of the Care Community, being a care leaver isn’t at the forefront of my mind when I’m joining the sessions.
Link-Up is about fun, not just about the care system, and that makes it a space I feel really comfortable in.
I don’t feel under any pressure unless it’s in a good way when we are being competitive playing games. This means I can be myself in that community.
What barriers do you think there could be to joining a community like Link-Up for care-experienced young people?
Joining a community that you are not familiar with can bring up feelings of social anxiety, but I feel like taking part in Link-Up can contribute to overcoming that social anxiety.
Link-Up is over Zoom and not face-to-face, which can feel like less pressure. You can join in without having to be on camera or speak the whole time, it’s more about being there without any social pressure to be in a ‘certain way.’
I believe anxiety can be triggered when joining a new thing.
It can be daunting when you don’t know what something is going to be like. But that can also mean that we miss out on opportunities because anxiety can sometimes hold us back.
I think joining Link-Up and feeling part of that community can support you to feel less anxious.
What positive impact has feeling like part of a community had on you?
There may be days when I feel like I don’t want to join in because I haven’t been in the best of moods. I would try to talk myself out of joining a session, but by joining and spending time with the community, I feel better even if it’s for that moment and that is because I can be my true self without having to hide my feelings.
I don’t feel the pressure to interact a certain way or be 100% present and I can be my unfiltered self without fear of judgement.
That has had a positive impact on my life by building my confidence.
How do you feel your community supports you?
Sometimes it’s just nice to have people listen to you without having to give their opinion or advice. The Link-Up community lends an ear to listen and understand how you’re feeling.
When you want to share what you may be experiencing at the time, it can help when you feel comfortable to do so without worrying what people may say about it.
I know that if I want to express myself, I can without judgement and that can be a massive support.
– Jasmine, Care Leaver
Link-Up is a virtual hang out where care-experienced young people can come together to chat, develop a sense of community and have fun together.
Link-Up takes place every Tuesday at 5:30pm-7pm on Zoom. Find out more here: https://www.becomecharity.org.uk/for-young-people/weekly-link-ups/
To celebrate Care Day 2022, Become held a special poetry Link Up on Tuesday 15 February, inviting the 5 Nations (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Northern Ireland) to attend and write poetry on the theme of ‘celebration.’