I have been involved with Front Lounge from before the organisation was formed over 20 years ago – I was a part of some of the projects that preceded it, and have been mostly been around in the background to some degree while it was all piecing together. I was 17-18 years old. I was living at home and in sixth year of high school. I was unsure of what my next steps should be when I was invited to get involved with Front Lounge to help me explore what I could and perhaps should do next – this exposed me to a lot of options that I never would have gotten to experience on my own.
I got experience in working in a recording studio, I performed concerts in the Caird Hall and further afield, I made an album that was professionally mixed and mastered. But I feel that I got more from projects that were for helping others in a number of ways.
The involvement in these projects taught me skills that I’ve used in my career so far, and is something I would never have gotten to do as an individual. On top of the specific media skills I’ve learned and relied on throughout my career, the most important skills I learned or honed from working with Front Lounge was to really listen to people, and to never stop striving for more. It’s much easier to have a ‘can do’ attitude for the future when you’ve had the support or encouragement needed to achieve in the past. Who I am as a person and my beliefs align pretty closely with Front Lounge’s beliefs and how they operate.
My relationship with them has changed in many ways over the years. I’ve been a service user, a supporter, a volunteer, a board member, and a friend to the Project Leader and Front Lounge for over 20 years. I believe in what they do and it’s always exciting and rewarding to see what projects they’re involved with. And while I’ve seen the organisation change in loads of unexpected ways, often reacting to the current needs of some very inspirational young people, those initial values and ideals have positively been built upon but have never been left behind. Personal development and social empowerment are two of the most important and underappreciated things that you can help a young person to work on and gain more of – and that’s what Front Lounge achieves every day.
As an organisation they’re consistent and they’re ambitious, and they never overpromise – I think this honesty along with their countless past successes really resonates with and inspires the young people who choose to work with them. The project I enjoyed the most was taking part in iGNiTE workshops across the country around 18 years ago. It was probably one of the first times I was acting as an “adult” and leading part of a project. I enjoyed every minute of it, I grew in experience and skills, I met loads of great people, and got to travel to new places that I would never have went to. In every single workshop I saw young participants grow in confidence, be surprised at how much they could achieve in such a short time, and together we created some great music, videos and memories – many of which has changed lives forever.
I have professionally worked in media and publishing combined for over 18 years and the first step towards achieving that was my initial media training from Front Lounge, coupled with the encouragement they gave me to go to university to get my Media and Sociology degree.
Beyond support, I was given opportunities to do things and meet people I never would have, giving me more skills, experience and confidence to fall back on.
I believe that no matter how much you achieve, there’s always scope to do better tomorrow. Believing that is an amazing and freeing thing. It allows us to improve upon the past, regardless of what that looks like, and to push for growth and better things each day. I think if you are pursuing what you love, if you’re trying to push things forward, and be better for both for yourself and for others, then you’re doing just fine. And if that’s not the case, then reach out to someone you trust who can help you do so. The seeds of tomorrow‘s achievements are planted today.