What is the group like?
Personal stories from you people who are members of the Ladybirds.
My name is Tanya. I'm 20 years old and I attend The LadyBirds, on a Thursday night between 6pm - 8pm
What made you want to attend the LadyBirds group?
I first heard of The LadyBirds in BeLonG To Sundays from some of the girls in there. They were trying to get me to go to ladybirds for a good while, but I was being a stubborn little git and decided to protest a little with the girls before going. It wasn't anything serious just for the bants. I used to have training on Thursdays so couldn't go anyway. I really wanted to go though, so I went one night and have being going ever since! I loved the group from the first day I walked in.
I was lucky; I knew a fair few of the girls before I went to the group. So I wasn't really anxious or nervous. I was just looking forward to having a laugh with the girls and seeing what all the fuss was about. To be honest, I'm a fairly confident person, If someone doesn't like me they don't like me. I'm not going to try changing their opinion, it’s their opinion. Frankly I don't care what you see is what you get, if you don't like it jog on! Knowing a few people though did help, because I knew id not be left sitting in a corner on my own like a tool. BeLonG To in general is the least judgemental place on the planet anyway so I knew LadyBirds would be the same.
I've learnt so many things in LadyBirds, about society, myself and the other things young LBT women deal with on a daily basis. So if I'm only allowed name 3 fair enough still a bit of a challenge.
Can you name three things positive you got from the group?
- Ladybirds have made me a much more confident young person and equip you with the knowledge of how to handle different situations. I was fairly confident going into the group but hated getting up and talking in large groups and doing stuff like that in general. So being given the opportunity to be able to facilitate workshops and get involved in campaigns really helped with that. Sure now you can pretty much throw me in anywhere and will be flying! And the fact that you’re involved with workshops that are peer led is amazing. Sure who knows what young people’s interests, needs and wants are better than the young people ourselves?
- The support you get from each other. I attend most of the other groups also, but for me LadyBirds is my favourite by far. There is a fantastic bunch of girls in the group of all different shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Everyone has their own stories and the dynamic of the group has changed so much since I first came nearly 4 years ago. Sticking a bunch of 15+ young women in a group, obviously sometimes there's going to be a difference of opinions and you have girls channelling you on yours sometimes but it’s such a safe place to express who you are as an individual. No matter what ups and downs we go through in the group, we'll always have each others back. It’s like walking into a group and leaving with another little family by the end! Everyone becomes so close and some of my closest friends I've met through LadyBirds.
- The Youth workers! I know I'm probably a little bias but the youth workers in LadyBirds and BeLonG To as a whole are some of the most admirable and respected bunch of people you'll ever meet. They are so dedicated to their roles and push young people to reach their full potential. They go above and beyond to insure the girls are getting as much out of the group as possible. As LadyBirds are a peer led group, the youth workers obviously are there to help if the girls need it when putting a workshop together but because of the laid back approach the youth workers also get to participate in the workshops and learn just as much as the other members in the group. I know for me personally the youth workers have helped me so much. Due to their help, I’ve gotten a place on a Springboard course in Belfast starting in January and I know without their help and guidance I never would have even heard about this opportunity let alone gotten a place on the course.
Finally what is the best thing about being a member of the LadyBirds group?
Oh my god! Such a tricky question. It’s so hard to say the best thing. There is so much I love about LadyBirds. If I had to name one thing though, it’s probably the uniqueness of the group. I've never seen, heard or been a part of a group like LadyBirds. The first thing you notice is how comfortable and close everyone is within the group. Everyone is so open and laid back. All the girls have such diverse and different backgrounds. I know without LadyBirds id never have met half the friends I've gained. Not because of ignorance but just simply I'd more than likely never have the opportunity. It’s my little safe place, the one place I know I can go and be free from judgement and the stress of everyday life. I don't know! I really just can’t name the "best thing" it’s all the little things that I love that make LadyBirds what it is.
My name is Lesley, I attend Ladybirds and occasionally the Sunday group.
I had been to the Sunday group once before and I found it to be to big at the time for what I was looking for. I wanted to be around other LBT women and a friend of mine was in Ladybirds so I went just to see what it was like. I'd heard great things about it.
I was a bit nervous before going, I didn't know what to expect, so it was fairly intimidating. I thought the girls would be in their own little groups of friends and such.
I came back because I really enjoyed my time there; everyone was so friendly and funny. The youth worker was really welcoming and I found it easy to relax there. My nerves were gone after about 10 minutes into the group.
Ladybirds has made me more confident in my abilities, the group have provided me with so many amazing experiences and taught me so much over the few years. I've made some amazing friends there.
The best thing about Ladybirds is the diversity in the group, people from all walks of life attend and it makes the group so much more fun. I've learned so much from everyone who goes.