I moved to Treneere with my Mum and three brothers when I was 12. It was the fourth time we had moved house and I hated it and felt really depressed. I didn’t know anyone and I had missed loads of school because we had kept on moving. I didn’t want to make friends in case we moved again. Our house was too small and I had to share a room with two of my brothers.
My Mum was at work or out all the time. When I came home from school I was supposed to mind my brothers but they didn’t do anything I told them to. In the summer holidays we were just left alone all the time. One day I just took a bottle of
vodka from my Mum’s bedroom and drank it. After that I drank alcohol when I could get it. My Mum would come home and go mad and kick me out until I sobered up. I started missing school and getting into loads of trouble with the teachers.
One day when I was 14 I saw a load of people meeting up to go swimming. One of them asked me if I wanted to go but I didn’t have any money or a costume. But it didn’t matter as the workers had brought spare towels and stuff. I went swimming and then we went back to Trelya for some food and to listen to some music. I didn’t like Trelya at first, they wouldn’t just let me do what I wanted to do but they kept on asking me to come back the next week to do something else.
I did some singing with Trelya and really liked it. I went into the Trelya show at the Acorn Theatre and it was amazing to be on stage like that. My Mum didn’t come to watch but everyone at Trelya said it was really good. Some people from school were in Kids R Us, a youth theatre company and I wanted to go. I had to go to Trelya every week and not get into trouble for three weeks before they would help me to go. Now they bring me to rehearsals every week and I think I’m going to be in the next show.
I don’t drink as much anymore and I don’t fight with my Mum or the teachers as badly as I used to. I want to go to college, get a job and my own place to live and be able to buy my own things. They’re not your friends at Trelya but they help you when you need help and don’t put up with any messing. My little brother goes to football with Trelya and he’s getting really good.
No way was I going to a youth club, they were for kids. My younger sister went to one and I didn’t want to spend any more time with her than I had to.
I hated school and got kicked out, and then I started arguing with my Dad all the time. I didn’t want to go home because it was boring, so I just hung out with my mates when they finished school. If we had some money we’d get someone to buy us alcohol and fags. I got in trouble with the police a couple of times, nothing major just a telling off for being drunk and making a lot of noise.
My little sister always had something to do after school at this place ‘Trelya’. I was a bit jealous when summer came as she got to go out, went surfing and even went up country to stay over. She had lots of mates and somewhere to go, she even went up there by herself. I was really jealous when she came home after eating some decent food that they had helped her cook, I was starving that day. Dad couldn’t be bothered to cook and I was really fed up with pot noodles.
On a Saturday night I was walking through the estate with my sister and she started talking to two people that worked for Trelya. They were really nice to her and they chatted to me as well, they said if we wanted we could pop down to Trelya then and have a hot chocolate. There was nothing else to do so we went down there, I actually felt a bit nervous.
I was really surprised when I got there, my sister went off to do some arty stuff and I starting talking to the youth workers there. It was the first place I’d been where I wasn’t treated like a little kid. The youth workers just treated me normally and listened loads to what I was saying. They were actually interested in me, they didn’t tell me off for getting kicked out of school, they just asked what had happened.
I think that working here is about as varied and interesting as work can get. There isn’t really a typical day in the life of a Trelya worker because no day is ever the same. We try to be as flexible as possible, adapting to what young people want and need at that time so it’s always different.
We do run some very regular sessions such as Swimming, Football, Youth Cafe and Drop ins but even these can be different every time. It is very important that we have these regular sessions as life can be pretty chaotic when you are young. We aim to be a constant, reliable provision that young people can trust to show up. These regular sessions enable young people to try out lots of different activities. They can find what they really enjoy, or what interests them and we can work from there, helping them to plan and organise what else they’d like to do.
During any given day it’s possible to be involved with anything. It may be that a distressed young person rings the doorbell having just been kicked out of home by a violent parent. The experienced team would then do all they can to ensure that young person has somewhere safe to stay that evening. There would also be a lot of intensive support work involved here, ensuring that the young person feels physically and emotionally safe and fulfilling practical needs such as sourcing clean underwear, food and overnight essentials. This would be the beginning of a sustained period of support and intervention for this young person.
Very different to this could be a summer holiday day out, where we take a minibus full of young people to the beach. It has been our experience that this is sometimes the only opportunity that some kids get to go to the beach even though we live in a county with sea on 3 sides. On all our trips we take lots of food, drink and spare clothes to make sure that everybody enjoys themselves as much as possible.
We could be running a regular drop in session when somebody expresses an interest in graffiti. Thanks to our skilled team of workers we are able to respond to this and spend the rest of the evening designing logos and making stencils so next session the young people can start re-decorating the walls of the social room. Things like this can often catch young people by surprise which is great, as it gives the session a real sense of energy and purpose.
We are regularly on Treneere wandering around chatting to young people and families. It may be that we have packed a cricket bat and ball and before you know it we are playing a game of cricket (well, our version anyway) with potentially 10/20 young people on the Rec. We may also have other games or things to do you can’t beat a game of top trumps on the swings in the sandy park!
I‘m Lewis and I’m 19. I first knew about Trelya when I was about 11 and I met some youth workers who work there. They were down the Rec playing games with some of my mates from school and I joined in.
I’ve done loads of stuff with Trelya, surfing, mountain biking, football. My mum wasn’t well and she didn’t really leave the house so she couldn’t bring me places when I was younger. There was nothing to do on Treneere and people try to get you into trouble with drugs and other stuff. I used to just like hanging out at Trelya, there was always something going on. Even boring stuff like art and cooking was fun there.
I thought Trelya was just a place that kids went to do stuff until I really needed help. When I was 15 my Mum’s boyfriend moved into our house and just got stoned or drunk all the time. It was really horrible and I didn’t know what to do. Before it was OK but now there wasn’t money for food or anything. I just told Jennie at Trelya one day, because I trusted her and I knew she would know what to do.
For two years Trelya helped me. I went up after college and did my homework on the computers there. I cooked my dinner there a lot. They even arranged for me to go on an activity camp holiday in the summer.
My Mum’s boyfriend went to prison so it’s better at home now. I’ve left college and got some work in a hotel. I met my girlfriend at work. There’s not a lot of jobs around and a lot of my mates are unemployed, and just drinking all the time. I think I would be like them if Trelya hadn’t helped me. When I see young kids messing around on the estate I want to tell them to get up to Trelya and sort themselves out.