As an organisation who has always worked in coproduction with young people, we know that young disabled people and young people with lived experience of mental health difficulties are at a greater risk of social isolation and loneliness, due to the barriers put in place by society, than their non-disabled peers. These barriers are further increased in Black Minority Ethnic (BME) communities due to factors including cultural stigma and reduced access to services. Through the Common Ground project we met many extraordinary people who found their own solutions to youth loneliness.

“When Changing Our Lives introduced me to Javid, I knew his face. We go to the same mosque and I have also attended his training sessions in the past. I had never discussed with Javid my interest in becoming a football coach, but the interview was a great chance to do this. Javid was happy to give me the chance to volunteer for the team and even discussed the possibility of paid work in the future. I was happy to finally start working properly and using my skills!”

 

Bilaal

 

"I read a poem about the barriers I face and found that this encouraged people to approach me and ask questions. It also helped me make connections with other poets and get invited to perform at other events. I feel that the experience has benefited me, as it has given me the opportunity to share my work with others and to prove that blindness does not stop me from achieving anything I put my mind to."

 

Saima