Astrid's Story

Where do I start…

I’ve been involved with The Mix since the early days of its opening; coming in every now and again to have a look around and attending some of the events held. My mum encouraged me to go to The Mix when she found out about some of the courses and support that they offered. Being a typical teenager - too cool togo to what I thought was just a youth hall and a place for hooligans to visit -I refused and didn’t think much of it after that, but I would find myself looking over at the building on my way to and from school, and seeing it grow more popular over time.

Eventually, when my mum became involved with The Mix, I decided to pop in more often, just little visits here and there, but it made me more and more curious as to what was going on in this big, exciting building. I was always warmly welcomed by everyone and faces became more and more familiar each time.

After a while I decided to take part in some of the courses that The Mix was running. Courses like:

- The Big Pen Project

- Leadership For Life

- Together Project

- Diadem

- Short Barista Training.

… and a few others.

Over time I built trust with the people at The Mix and even some friendships. I met amazing people that were going above and beyond to help and support young people as much as they could in any way they needed. I became more and more curious and just adored everything these people would do to help me, and others like me. My mind was changed about The Mix, it is more than just a youth hall and supports all young people, not just those that are struggling. I had many struggles, and up and down moments growing up, as many young people do. I still do now, but I grew to accept that that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing and accepted that, bad days happen.

Everyone at The Mix helped me realise that and to see things in a different light. You can learn from every experience and grow to become a better person. During these visits to The Mix, I built my non-existing confidence into something I never thought I would have now. The Leadership for Life course helped develop my leading skills for myself, and to help others.

The Big Pen Project helped me to ‘take back my pen’ and to ‘never give my pen to someone else’. It made me realise that I can write my own story, do anything I put my mind to, and not let anyone badly influence my path. Joining The Together Project, I had 1 to 1 support sessions to use the skills I’d learnt through the other projects, and to prepare me for the work environment.

I took part in many other courses atThe Mix that helped mould me into my better self, but one of the main things I am appreciative of is the 1 to 1 coaching and mentoring, and the person who supported me the most through these sessions. I had many different supporters, but I had one person that inspired me the most. She helped make me realise my true potential and worth and made me see I can be whatever I want if I put my mind to it. She supported me to become the person I am today.

When I had my hiccups, she was the one to help pick me up again and see I can get back on my path with ‘baby steps’. With her support I managed to secure a placement at West Suffolk College while my son was attending nursery. I completed the course thanks to her and her continued encouragement for me, aswell as the support of others helping me with practical assignments.

There were many things she helped me with, and she will forever be a massive part of my journey and the reason I pushed for the position I am in currently. The biggest thank you! Anyway…after college I had a few jobs that I enjoyed at times but knew I wanted more. I wanted to do and be more. So I decided to return to The Mix once again, but this time I signed up to volunteer within Cabbages and Kings, their café located inside The Mix building.

I was so thankful for that opportunity as I adored the food at the café and even more the people that worked there. I felt like I knew everyone already due to their encouragement over the years. After volunteering with them for sometime I was offered a paid position! I was over the moon to be given that opportunity! I continued to build my confidence and skills more and more, making amazing friendships with everyone there! During my time at the café, I joined another Diadem course, which recapped all the amazing and encouraging advice I had received over the years for making sure I have my life and relationships the way I want it.

Unfortunately, I decided to leave the Cabbages and Kings café after around three fantastic years…fortunately that was due to a positive job interview which secured me with a full-time work position as, wait for it, a Together Project Youth Support Worker at The Mix! All the hard work and dedication I have put in through my journey so far with the help from all the wonderful people atThe Mix, has secured me this amazing opportunity to help other young people the way I was helped.

I cannot thank The Mix and everyone here, past and present, for everything they have done and still continue to do for me. It truly has been the most life changing and amazing journey ever!

… and thankyou to you for reading my story, I hope to see and meet you all in the future.

Astrid 😊

Written by Astrid