Responses from Young People
More than 500 young people from Swindon schools and other local organisations have attended SYEP programmes since 2001. Organisations SYEP have delivered programmes for in the past include Social Services, Swindon Twelve to Eighteen Project (STEP), the Alcohol and Drugs Service, Druglink, Swindon Carers, the National Association for Mental Health -MIND and young people with special needs. All were selected to experience SYEP because of personal problems.
The following are some typical responses in brief (some of which have been recorded on video):
· “I don’t just think it’s changed my week, it’s changed my whole life!”
· “I used to want to commit suicide. Now I know there are reasons to live.”
· “You can concentrate more in lessons.”
· “Coming here has helped me come off report.”
· “I‘ve not got such a bad attitude towards my parents.”
· “It helps you leave your troubles behind.”
· “ I feel calmer and better behaved. My mum said I’m a different child.”
· “I can express inner thoughts.”
Some responses in depth:
13 year old female
It’s been nearly a year since we finished. I really miss coming and feel like I want to continue with it.
I feel I was able to help my family and settle arguments. It has helped me to relax more. When I feel angry, or upset, I remember the words that I am a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. I think about my gems a lot and feel stronger in myself. I feel I have value and can be the light of the world. It helps me to think good things about myself. The stories have made me think more about other people rather than just thinking of myself. It has made me happier and more calmer and more willing to help other people.
I did a TZ at home for my friend and she found it a good experience. I’d like to try it again. I use the wise person’s booklet all the time.”
My daughter was lacking a lot of confidence, but coming to the project has helped her build her confidence and self esteem. She is happier and able to cope with pressure. She’s well focused now. Thanks for all you have done for her.
12 year old female
(Before SYEP) Very unhappy in my life, no self confidence, bored. Used to get into trouble at school and felt angry some of the time. “I used to get really angry and punch my brother really hard.”
Now: My relationship has changed with my brother and family. Given me higher self esteem. It has made me get up and do what I want to do, rather than sit back and let others to do it.
I help out my older brother, Chris, who is 14. He has a lot of anger and I help him to calm down and relax.
I want to get back to Tranquillity. I’ve been thinking about how I was helped and how I can help others. This has changed my relationship with my dad, which used to be quite difficult and I found it hard to talk to him about stuff, and I used to only talk about simple things. Now I feel closer to him and he told me that I was his favourite daughter.
I get teased a lot at school, but it helps me be happy with who I am. I used to worry about how I look and what people thought of me but now I don’t care.
In my family when there are arguments, between members of family, it helps me not to get stressed. I used to find it hard to cope and now I find that I can cope and remember that this will pass.
I remind myself that even if they are all arguing we all still love each other in some way. When I’m in trouble I think about being on the island and getting away from everyone.
It has given me confidence and to smile more. I feel I’m a lot happier. My parents also notice a difference because I’ve learned how to chill out rather than get angry.
I feel nothing stresses me out. I’m doing better at school. I use the booklet when I get wound up and I read the words of the wise person quite regularly.
Now I just want to get back to the happy atmosphere of the TZ as it has become a very important part of my life.
14 year old male
I don’t think the the Tranquillity Zone helped my whole week I think it helped my whole life really because some of the things that the Tranquillity Zone has taught me will stay with me so that I can help either myself or my problems or my mum’s problems and feelings and anyone else I know.
Thanks to the Tranquillity Zone and Discovery Zone, I have more self peace than I have ever had in my life and I think that the days I was going there I was a lot calmer, I was thinking about everything before I had done it, I think that it helped me kind of doing things but only if it was the right decision to do at that time.
After the programmes I feel I had less problems, because before I didn’t care about them but now I’m thinking, if I carry on doing bad things, I’m not going to end up being able to have sports cars like my brothers, or nice houses, or girlfriends, instead of being sat behind a college desk where I want to be, I’ll be sat behind bars. So I want to choose the right choices rather than the wrong ones.
11 year old female
“I used to get really angry and then take it out on whoever was closest to me… I always used to get into trouble and some people in my class didn’t like me because I was so angry all the time… [After the tranquility zone,]I am happier now at school because it’s nicer being told you are doing well instead of being shouted at all the time and I’ve got more friends now” (Evening Advertiser,21.3.06: 14)
14 year old male
When I was in the Tranquillity Zone I just felt that I had no worries or anything. I feel school is more important than it used to be. I’m not getting as many bad reports as I used to. I used to have one every day but that’s gone down now. I know its bad, it’s a couple a week, but its still gone down. I’m improving. My attendance in school’s gone up as well. So that’s quite good.
I wasn’t aware of what my son was doing until one day he came home and he told me he’d been to the Tranquillity Zone. I said, What on earth is the Tranquillity Zone? And my son’s words were, 'Its beautiful Mum. There’s candles, there’s big floor cushions, the room’s scented, and he even suggested at one point I could have my own Tranquillity Zone at home.' And I was thinking, this is not the Richard that I know! But its obviously working.
17 year old male
The information it gives you is absolutely brilliant. You are told you are something. You are told you aren’t a useless person, you aren’t going to fail all your exams, you are brilliant, you are rich in these gems, you are wonderful. And that its up to you to show that as well.
It was a lot of work, and I learnt loads, and I’ll always remember it. I’ll never forget what I’ve learnt.
I’d love to make a commitment to continue level 2 and other levels and bring more tzs to my family and friends and other young people.
It gave me the greatest confidence to be able to go out and give what I had learnt back to someone and basically to pass on my knowledge and give people a feeling that the Tranquillity Zone first gave me. And it boosted my confidence as well. It made me feel really good about myself. And the feedback I got from my Mum and Nan who came to the zone was brilliant, they basically couldn’t stop praising me.
If a lot of people did decide that this was something I am going to do, and we had a lot of people coming, I think it would be brilliant, I think the town would be so much more relaxed, especially with the youths and yobbery that is associated with most young people. If you got to calm those people down, and make young people more respected, I think that would be a great thing, I think not only a great thing for Swindon but a great thing for the whole country.
If the queen could come to Swindon tomorrow, and she could look at all these young people, so relaxed, she’d say What’s happened, Why are these young people so brilliant? And you’d turn round to her and say, its because of this great service that I’ve been through and I think other people should go through. She’l say Brilliant, get everyone doing it. That’s a dream.
My son wasn’t very confident before, he is now! It has really done him good in doing it.
It has really helped him think and try and help other people who have been in his position as well. He helps his sister, and me!
15 year old female
“I was in a group called STEP a youth group thing for those with family problems, they introduced it to us and it sounded quite interesting. And coming here, and Woah! It takes your breath away. Its an ordinary room, with curtains and things, but when your in there you click, your mind just goes, you are relaxed as you walk in, its like walking into a different world. When we got in there we were all hyper, ten 13 year olds all hyper, yet we come out and sat there … we was all silent, and peaceful, it was lovely.
“I was having a lot of problems at the time, my life was basically going downhill every day, I thought that I’d just end it. But I came into the Tranquillity Zone and it was like, now there’s a reason to live, I am a good person, I can turn my life round. And I did.
My friends think I’m more upbeat, my teachers think I’m more confident, people think its changed me, I’m more mature…
And my behaviour is a lot better. Before I used to wander off I used to think, What the hell am I doing here, why don’t I just go home. But now I feel, I need to go to school, its education I need, and basically I’m a lot more focused in lessons. I’m able to do the work with a lot more proficiency (?) and I enjoy the work a lot more than I ever did before.
Level 2 was one of the greatest experiences of the Tranquillity Zone cos you knew now how to help others. You knew how to communicate with your friends, how to be totally honest with your friends, these are two really important qualities of life, to communicate as a team, and then we of course do the Tranquillity Zone, and that was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, I felt so good. Everyone said how good it was and how much fun they had. I was really pleased that I could help others the way the Tranquillity Zone had helped me.
I think doing it for a lot of other young people in Swindon would change the atmosphere, because a lot of young people are kind of irritable, they’re aggravated easily, they basically have too much time on their hands. If they came here they would be a lot calmer, and a lot more willing to talk about what’s bothering them. I think it would make a great difference to the atmosphere. They’d be a lot happier and calmer….
I think it would be a great help to people to have more Young People Empowerment Programmes. It means a lot more young people could be reached, and it would make a great difference. And I’d love to be one of those people making a great difference.
11 year old male
I came here in year 7. I think I was picked by my learning mentor at school because of the problems I was having. It was a chance for me to escape and calm down. We came here. It’s really addictive, I really like it. I can’t stop coming back.