Ex resident and Ludosport enthusiast Dan Barlow tells his story….

Dan Barlow is an ex-young resident of St Basils, he stayed at St Basils during 2007-2008 when he was 19-20 at St Basils Short Heath project in Erdington which can house 10 young people at a time. He has recently got back in touch with St Basils wanting to give something back through his passion for Ludosport…  

Dan said; “I had a good experience at St Basils. The staff were great and I got on well with the other residents too.”

“Although we’re all fine now, I needed St Basils at the time because of a family breakdown situation. I had nowhere else to go.”

“I very much feel like St Basils helped me get back on my feet. St Basils ran Lifeskills courses and although I already had some of those skills it was a good thing to do and it meant I got to meet other young people too. Plus they spoke to me about what I liked to do in terms of my hobbies, what my talents were and offered up various contacts through St Basils and opportunities as a result. The staff were really encouraging and supportive but not overbearing. They gave me space but still emphasised the importance of getting out my room, meeting the other residents and making the most of opportunities. I didn’t fully realise it at the time but now looking back I’m very aware of how much more of struggle things could’ve been if I hadn’t have had that support”.

“St Basils set me up for life and paid for me to access some of the training and certificates I needed for work. I was doing ad-hoc bar work at the time and St Basils Staff helped me gain my level 2 qualification in Food Safety Hygiene and a Personal Licence for the sale of alcohol on licenced premises, which put me in a better position to get a wider range of bar work and meant kitchen work also became a possibility, which increased the opportunities available to me and my confidence.”

“It’s not what I’m doing now. I got into Caring later on through my partner and a contact of her mother’s, but the experience at St Basils taught me how to make the most of opportunities. I started off just doing odd jobs for this contact and it just built from there and even though I’d never planned to be a carer I really took to it and I’ve since moved on and now have a job working at a Care Home which I’m really enjoying.”

“St Basils really helped with my emotional wellbeing too. It was strange to leave the family environment I’d been in and come to St Basils. I was going through lots of emotions and I had music college, the band I was in and trying to hold a job down too. There was a lot of pressure at the time to keep myself afloat. St Basils provided a space where I could think and support to work through it all”.

“My emotional wellbeing has been a lot better as well since I discovered Ludosport. St Basils staff always emphasised the importance of having hobbies to help build confidence, social skills and improve mental wellbeing and I find all that in Ludosport.”

Dan BarlowLudosport is a lightsaber combat sport and an international community across 15 countries. Some people think of it as like Fencing but with laser swords. It looks and sounds a lot like the fight scenes on Star Wars. It’s really good fun and good exercise as it’s a whole body work-out”.

“I got into it about 3 years ago completely by accident when I was googling light sabres for a Halloween costume and came across a Ludosport video. I found an instructor and got the bug and recently I even got to represent Britain at an international competition.”

“Ludosport has a real community vibe, we socialise a lot together and everyone is really friendly. Social skills is something St Basils really helped with too.  How to strike up a conversation with someone that you don’t know and how to interact with people from all sorts of different backgrounds, that’s really key in Ludosport and it was at St Basils as well. I’m always the first person to welcome and strike up a conversation with someone new to the class and I definitely crafted those skills at St Basils.“

“We’re hoping to do a Ludosport Fundraising event for St Basils and we’re thinking of doing a demo for some of St Basils young people as well. Anyone can get involved in Ludosport, it helps with body as well as mind and I think it could really help an individual that’s in the situation now that I was in at St Basils. Plus it’s another opportunity for me to help give back to the charity that helped me get to where I am now”.


If you wish to find out more about Ludosport please email: uk@ludosport.net