Elliemae’s Lakeside Experience

Lakeside shows you what kind of person you can be and inspires you to want something better from life.

Elliemae, 14 years old, Bootle, Merseyside

Elliemae is from a single parent family with a very young brother and sister. She lives in an area where there are few activities for young people and the local park is a ‘hangout’ for gangs. Lakeside enabled Elliemae to face her fears and realise she can achieve so much more than she thought.

“Mum was really young when she had me and as a single parent it was tough making ends meet. Not a lot of people like living in Bootle, there’s not much for young people to do. If I go to the park with my mates there’s a lot of drinking, smoking and hanging out in gangs – I find that environment intimidating”.

Elliemae often stayed indoors to avoid mixing with the wrong crowd. But it was Lakeside that really opened up a new world for her.

“The location is stunning. You can sit and eat your meals looking out over the lake – it’s amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. There’s nothing like that where I’m from”.

Elliemae was reluctant to try new activities at first, but with the help of staff and the support of new friends she overcame some of her greatest fears.

“I had quite low self confidence when I first went to Lakeside, I was shy and didn’t like joining in. But very quickly I started giving things a go. The scariest thing at Lakeside was the zip wire. It was terrifying! But the staff helped me to focus and believe that nothing could hurt me – and I did it”.

When Elliemae overcame her fears, she felt so much more confident. She enjoyed the team work at Lakeside and felt braver as a person.

“Lakeside helped me to listen more and communicate better with other people. The experience gave me a new confidence. Also, I’m much more active now and I don’t want to be sitting around at home anymore, I want to be out and doing things”.

“I think it would be a good place for young people who are hanging around getting into trouble, who don’t think there is any other option. Maybe it could turn their lives around too”. Elliemae is now thinking about what her future might look like. She wants to go to university and travel, but most importantly she wants to keep trying new things.