Outcomes and Successes
NOCS charity was set up by a group of people passionate to see it grow and to help others to benefit, because they’ve seen first hand the life-changing benefits that the activities and support at Noc’s Box have brought to their loved ones, as the (anonymised) case studies below show.
NOCS Chair, Lorraine Paddison, says,
“NOCS has been life changing for my nephew Paul. Since going to NOCS his intense social anxieties have reduced immeasurably. He is more comfortable talking to people and he copes much better with challenges and setbacks, all while making friends and having fun! He started with card games and very gradually progressed onto skirmish and role play games, receiving fantastic support from Noc and his fellow players along the way. Paul has Asperger’s and his acute anxieties meant he used to spend most of his time at home. I want others with his difficulties to benefit too.”
“Claire first came to NOCS on a pretext. She was extremely shy and on her own. She started what became a regular weekly ritual of spending her lunchtime in the venue sitting in silence and using strategies to avoid contact. She has learning and social difficulties and for a very long time she would only speak to Noc. But with time and the space that he made available for her to listen and familiarise herself with the venue she gradually grew in confidence. Over time other regulars were introduced to her and conversation structures developed.
Three years later Claire still maintains the weekly routine but now she interacts willingly with members, sometimes initiating conversations and humour and she has attended the last two NOCS Christmas Meals. Claire has become part of the community and has clearly grown in confidence and her ability and enjoyment in socialising.”
“Ian is a highly intelligent boy who had very limited social contacts and found interacting with others difficult. At the point at which he first made contact with NOCS he had developed an enthusiasm for games and gaming but was unable to locate other players. Within weeks of first attending NOCS he was interacting confidently with a range of people of all ages. By finding a common topic of interest in which he had a well-developed knowledge, he found he could interact on equal terms with others and became comfortable both seeking and providing advice. The confidence he found in these interactions developed his general level of confidence and so his interactions in non-game related contexts. Through NOCS Ian has developed a broad based social network, enhanced social skills and self-confidence.”
“Harry was introduced to the shop by an able relative. He had been out of education and training for a long time (NEET), with a range of registered difficulties including learning and social skills. He relied on his family for security and acceptance, having very few successful friendships. He was not happy and had great difficulty in interacting with anyone without causing upset, intruding on personal boundaries and space, or being demeaning to others.
It took some time to help him to accept that there are rules for behaviour when in NOCS, but with patience and the consistency of guidance from Noc and the other members, he started to develop a much more positive approach.
Noc took Harry through development of one-to-one games, modelling how to handle losing a game, gamesmanship etc. He also made a point of reading out the rules for conduct at the beginning of any tournaments, or times when there may have been increased excitement, as part of the development for Harry. Harry gradually began to build relationships that were positive and became part of the NOCS community, gradually needing the presence of his family less and less. Now Harry has a job, has coped with moving away from family, has transport, and is generally much more independent. He no longer needs NOCS but still drops in from time to time.”
“My son, who has Asperger’s and is highly anxious, first started going to NOCS 4 years ago after a life of much time spent at home, including a prolonged time out of school which left him with very low self-esteem. After finding NOCS, he is now, quite literally, a different person. Finding friends of a like mind, a wonderful mentor in Noc and things to do that he really enjoys, he regularly attends the various activities – a miracle in itself. Now having so much more confidence, he helps out weekly at the shop, improving his self-esteem immensely. Noc’s support has been unwavering and instrumental in helping him to achieve this.”
We have seen repeatedly that the social skills and confidence gained through the shared passion for games at NOCS, and the support we give, are transferable to other contexts. Our members become more socially confident and less anxious. This is remarkable – and is a particularly cost-effective form of support. We intend to facilitate further research into exploring the link between the games used and the development of social skills, with the aim of others replicating our experience and benefiting larger numbers.
Serving such a diverse community leads to challenges for us in monitoring our members’ needs and the outcomes of our work. We are addressing these to produce more systematic data. A relatively high proportion of our members are open about their difficulties, reporting anxiety and difficulties with socialisation. Some have diagnosed needs, others do not; some understandably simply don’t want to be ‘labelled’, and some have no additional needs. If you are interested in the research please CONTACT US