The importance of finding your people

We all have people we’re close to. Siblings, cousins, friends. We might have friends we’ve known for so long they’re practically family. But despite the close connection we might not necessarily have much in common in terms of hobbies and interests.

When I was a kid I didn’t really fit in at school. I had little in common with my class mates, and spent most of my break times alone reading a book. It’s only recently that I’ve truly realised that I partly made the choice to be alone because I wasn’t interested in my classmates. On the occasions I tried to fit in, I felt uncomfortable and didn’t enjoy taking part in their games and activities.

But I was lonely. And I grew up believing I was weird, stupid and unlikeable. And that stayed with me into adulthood.

For kids like me, university is the first place you find yourself surrounded by people who share your interests. But that’s a long time to have to wait to find your people.

When I started Little Sandbox, it was to provide an environment for nerdy kids to gather and learn and have the freedom to pursue their interests. It was as much about the social aspect as it was about education.

And the feedback we get from kids and parents always includes confidence, feeling safe, belonging, and making friends.

Kids need places they can be themselves, where they can do stuff they love with people who understand them. Where they don’t feel judged. Where they can be proud of who they are and what they’re doing.

And so do adults. I’m quite socially anxious. I hate going in to places I’ve never been. I hate meeting new people. I don’t even like making phone calls. And it occurred to me that I’m probably not the only adult that feels this way. So I thought maybe there’s room for a Big Sandbox. Tech club for adults.

And then I discovered makerspaces.

Against all my usual instincts (and after months of putting it off ) I eventually went along to a maker night at DoES Liverpool. I didn’t make anything, I just wanted to see what went on there.

And what I found was my people.

I’ve been back a few times, sometimes I make stuff but mostly I just go to hang out. I like being around people that make stuff, I like talking about tech and just feeling like I’m around people that get me.

So that’s why I’m trying to develop a makerspace at our place in Bootle. So more adults like me, can find their people.

We’re currently in the running to win £50,000 grant funding from the Lottery. If we win the public vote we’ll be putting our plans in motion to develop our makerspace as well as developing and growing Little Sandbox.

Voting is open from 9am Monday 20th March – 12noon Monday 3rd April.

click here to vote

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