“I joined WeMindTheGap in 2015, alongside the Charity’s second cohort of young women. I remember meeting Rachel and Diane for the first time and being struck by their unwavering passion to improve the experiences of young people.

I quickly knew that my role was going to be more than CV writing and trips to the Job Centre, but that I was going to be there for those young women unequivocally and entirely. I was going to reflect the role models that I’d been so fortunate to have in my own life and be the cheerleader that every young person deserves.

This role came to be known as the Big Sister, now the First Mate. Since the early days our WeMindTheGap community has evolved and grown, while retaining the passion that was so clear in 2015. Each of my colleagues paves the way for young people, breaking biases, and overcoming long standing barriers to opportunities and inclusion. We celebrate every win.

In my three years as First Mate and year as Flintshire’s Skipper, I was privileged to walk alongside young people with the desire to improve their choices in life. During this time, I learnt some incredibly important lessons of my own.

There have been times that I’ve needed to draw on resilience, courage, humility, and determination and I have been inspired by individuals who personify those qualities, and I am so grateful for the young people I have supported for encouraging me to take on my own challenges (sometimes unknowingly) and other times waving me off on trips and demanding regular updates!

In January 2019, I travelled to Fiji to volunteer in the remote district of Dawasamu. I delivered a women empowerment project, focussing on the personal development of Community Health Workers who were responsible for promoting health, wellbeing, and safety in their villages. This is an experience that I will never forget, with my biggest learning being the power of community. I was, and still am overwhelmed by what can be achieved when people come together demonstrating unashamed love for one another.

I returned to WeMindTheGap in 2019, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, joining and then going on to lead a virtual programme, now known as WeDiscover. Like so many, I relied on human connection and close friends during periods of lockdown and struggled with the fact that so many young people were without this, experiencing isolation for so many reasons, Covid-19 being only one of them.

I now lead a team of five, who each bring their own unique and valuable contributions.  Whilst we’re often based in different locations, we are well connected, laugh a lot, and strive to provide a community to those who need it most.

In November 2021, I received a High Sheriff Award in recognition of great and valuable services to young people in the community. I am so proud of this, and endeavour to continue furthering our reach as a part of the kindest, biggest hearted team around.

Meet the team image – Laura

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