For the love of making me who I am Written by Ronan Palmer, SEND Student Support

Published on October 19, 2023

For the love of making me who I am -

Dear Ipswich, I love you!

Thank you for making me who I am.

Being a queer individual, growing up in Suffolk had been difficult – not seeing many people of my ilk made it difficult to accept who I am, and even harder to imagine myself as being happy living as my true self. However, it was during my GCSE and A Level years that I truly began to feel comfortable being who I was, mainly thanks to the support of my friends and family, alongside the wider community. I thank each and every one of you.

I’d like to use this platform to give a special thanks to a few organisations and individuals as well, who’ve been crucial to my growth in the past few years.

It was through a spur of the moment decision that I came to study in Ipswich at the University of Suffolk, focusing on the development of one’s identity through youth. I especially want to thank my lead lecturers – Dr Shaun Hammond and Shamser Sinha – for constantly pushing me to be my best self academically. Its thanks to you that I had found my passion of supporting young people to become who they want to be, like you did for myself.

I’d like to use this platform to give a special thanks to a few organisations and individuals as well, who’ve been crucial to my growth in the past few years.

First of all, I’d like to thank Suffolk Family Carers, specifically the Young Adult team, who gave me many opportunities to experience activism and awareness raising of issues that were personal to me. Through them, I had the chance to speak to NHS executives and MPs, to push for the support that was sorely needed for unpaid carers. It was through yourselves that I found my voice and my drive to help others, alongside getting my kick-ass hoodie that I still have! I thank you.

I’d also like to thank Outreach Youth, a local LGBTQ+ charity that I cane to, looking for an opportunity to volunteer – instead, I found an ever-growing family that helped me break out of my shell socially. I’d especially like to mention Andy and the trustee team, who took a chance on a young queer person who wanted to help – it’s thanks to you that I developed the confidence to work on projects like Suffolk Pride in 2019, alongside the many projects we have done together. I thank you for the space that you provide for kids like myself.

Lastly, I want to thank Meeple Gayming. This is a small community group that aims to tackle isolation, initially in the queer community through board games and nerdiness (though all are more than welcome!) It’s through this group that I found my tribe that make up almost all of my social circle, and I couldn’t imagine losing any of you. You’ve taught me to accept the inner child in me, and I can only wish for more oddities and nerdiness in the future!

Though people talk negatively about the Town Centre and the Waterfront, the beauty of this town is within the people that live here. And I’d hate to lose sight of what I truly love about this town.

Ronan Palmer
SEND Student Support

Love Letters to Ipswich

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