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Lorna Jones runs the youth group at Mid Powys Mind, ably assisted by volunteer Abby Simms. The group is aimed at 16 – 25 year olds, and gives them a safe and supportive place to meet and talk about what’s bothering them. I recently met up with three of the young people who attend regularly to find out more about the group.We’ve been going to the group since June last year which is when the very first meeting took place. We just do little bits of activities every week and it’s nice to get out. It’s in the Wellbeing Centre in Llandrindod and 5 to 7 of us are attending at the moment.

We’ve done pottery, art, games, we get to go on walks (that’s my favourite), and do Zentangle-mindfulness doodling. We do loads of different stuff, whatever we fancy, if we want to do something we just say. We plan quite far ahead and we’re all involved in structuring what we do. Some of us live further away so it’s not possible to get up every week, so we write down the dates that will be best for us.

Lorna Jones, Youth Worker Mid Powys Mind

It’s just nice to come somewhere and have a bit of a chat. It’s a safe place to go so if there is something on your mind, even if you don’t talk, Abby and Lorna talk it out of you. They pull it like a string! They pick up on your mood and always know when something is wrong. They’re very good, they’ve worked out who each of us are and what makes us tick and what doesn’t.

As it’s quite a friendly group we’ve all got to know each other really well so we’ve learned what to say and what not to say – what triggers other people. It’s good to be able to go somewhere and know that, hang on a minute, I’m not the only one who actually has to deal with something like this. I’ve gone and then learned that three people have actually had to do a very similar thing to what I’ve had to do. We’re all pretty close. We’re all treated the same way. Nobody is treated differently. Everyone has the same respect for each other.

Everyone’s problem is just as important as everyone else’s.

We didn’t know any of the others. It was new to all of us. It was a bit scary at the start but Lorna and Abby were really good at introducing everyone to each other. I think people have come out of their shells. When I came I didn’t really want to talk, I was very quiet, but now I don’t stop and others were very quiet too, wouldn’t say boo to a goose. We were all private and Lorna and Abby have brought our thoughts out of us. They make a relaxing, calming atmosphere.

Abby Simms, Mid Powys Mind volunteer, at a pot painting session

I’m quite a moody person and Lorna and Abby help us out with emotional and practical things. 

It’s good to get out of the house and away from everything else. To have a break. New people can just show up to the group. It’s a place we don’t have to go to have counselling, but we can go somewhere and just say “I feel crap today”. Even if you say “I don’t want to be here right now”. Okay, yes, alarm bells go off in their heads but they actually sit and listen to you. They make time to listen to you. Whereas in normal life we have busy parents who don’t have the time to do it, it’s good to have a place just for you which is your safe place.

In the past if we needed extra help Lorna signposted us to a different service, or if we were nervous Lorna contacted them for us. When I first came to the group, I was a bit of a mess and really struggled and Lorna put me in touch with Claire who works for Mid Powys Mind as a Recovery and Support Worker. I would not be here today if I hadn’t come to this group and met Lorna and Abby. I’ve learned to trust again, it’s taken a long time to get to where we are today, the good thing is you can have a joke with them. Some people have down days but the atmosphere isn’t down, there’s always something going on. 

Say there’s a new member and they don’t want to walk in with all of us in the room, if you speak to Lorna beforehand she will meet you outside first. It’s little things like that, and she prewarns us as well, some of us are quite nervous about meeting new people, they say you have to be nice! Those little things make a big difference.Confidentiality is a huge thing and we all respect that. Though we have broken some rules…. Only phones! But we are teenagers!

There are activities planned for the next few weeks. We have Monopoly, another walk, we’ve walked around the Lake before, we get a newsletter with a list of options. It’s 2 hours every week. It’s open to anyone in the Mid and North Powys area aged 16-25 to come along.

Many thanks to the young people for telling me all about the Youth group at Mid Powys Mind. If you want to find out more about the group then contact Lorna by emailing or ringing 01597 824411. There is also a Youth group Facebook page.