Listen Up! has given me the confidence to express my ideas, as well as the positive feeling that what I say or write is listened to and appreciated.
Thanks to the project I have the opportunity to write about the things that matter to me, including my experience of owning pet cats and feeding homeless cats while I was homeless myself.
I have felt accepted, even though when Listen Up! started most people on the project were English, while I am not. Nevertheless, I am pleased that more diverse people from various different backgrounds have now joined.
I have felt valued. I got the opportunity to attend a Listen Up! meeting in Manchester. It was lovely to meet other reporters in person and I really enjoyed the experience of a visit to the impressive city of Manchester that is just so different to London. I had never been to Manchester before.
Thanks to my participation in the project, I have got to practice the use of information technology such as Zoom, Teams, Telegram and WhatsApp. I have also received help with my IT problems and gained IT skills from my Project Officer and mentor Mat. He has helped me with things such as how to start using a new laptop, so I can now use it at home and away, including places where the ability to use a computer independently is needed. He also helped me with transferring data from a phone onto an external disk and explained to me how to use WeTransfer to share large files from my phone.
Most importantly, I have actually learnt how to use a smartphone thanks to the Listen Up! Project Officer. This is very useful practical skill that has become a necessity in the current modern world.
I have thoroughly enjoyed learning to report via filming as a part of On Our Radar training. It was very interesting to learn how to script, film and edit a short film. As part of the training a small group of us produced a short film about living in and being homeless in Brixton. I am additionally looking forward to making a little film with Mat about my experience with homeless cats while I was facing housing challenges myself.
I enjoy working with a team as I like the human connection and the creativity and camaraderie that comes with it. Belonging to a team has got me through difficult times, helping me to face some of the changes and challenges that have happened in the world over the past few years such as Covid-19, the energy crisis, the cost-of-living crisis, the war in the Ukraine and other worrying events of our times. Being in contact with others with a similar mindset makes all the worry a bit less worrying and more manageable. This has a positive impact on my mental health and well being.
Being part of a team makes me feel safer in the world. Not only that but the fact that reporters have access to the help and support of the progression team is invaluable and makes a lot of difference. Working with Groundswell’s progression team over the last two years has helped me to resolve some serious real-life issues that were stopping me from achieving my goals and were causing anxiety and distress. Both members of the progression team have been really trustworthy so that I was able to open up, and I did not feel like I had to hide anything. This really helped. I found it also positive that one of the progression team were a genuine part of the Listen up team attending meetings and activities with us, so we got to know each other well and build trust.
The Listen Up! project has given me a sense of belonging, creative outlet, learning opportunities, participation opportunities and a feeling of safety and appreciation. I am really grateful and feel fortunate to be part of this project that has become an important part of my life.
PHOTO BY MAT AMP