Developing relationships is central to the effectiveness of our work with young people.
From a background of criminal activity and anti-social behaviour, a 16-year-old boy has been accepted to study at an ICT college only nine months later.
Chris’ life has turned around from when he first started attending our Learn2Live programme at the end of 2008. He was referred from a local exclusion unit and we immediately saw a real mixture of behaviour. He could become aggressive and struggled with boundaries, finding it difficult to follow instructions, but the positive aspects to his character were that he was helpful and showed he could engage in activities and be trusted. He also excelled at sport and drama.
As our relationship with Chris deepened, he began to visit us outside of his sessions and we learned of the difficulties he had faced growing up including a family breakdown. He also opened up about his background of crime and anti-social behaviour.
This new-found trust meant that we began to see a real transformation in Chris. He thrived on being mentally challenged, engaging enthusiastically in sessions and allowing his natural creativity to shine through, and his general attitude became more and more positive.
After this, we were able to start mentoring Chris and this one-to-one contact meant that the relationship with him grew even stronger, enabling us to discuss more personal issues and therefore be more specific in tailoring our support for him. We encouraged him to focus his energy on exploring further education and employment opportunities instead of on the destructive activities he had previously become involved in.
At the end of the school year, Chris took a few GCSEs and, with our support, applied to join the army. When he did not hear back within the specified time period, he took an alternative route by applying to take an intensive six-month course at an ICT college. For this, he was asked to attend an interview despite his record, and he presented himself so competently in interview that he was accepted onto the course.
I first met Sarah in July and we began meeting in August 2015. We started meeting up every week and talking about how to cope and deal with my anxiety and my confidence. We talked about what I wanted to do and how I see my future. I told Sarah that I wanted a job, I wanted more independence but that I struggle quite badly at times with my anxiety.
After the summer, I began volunteering at Infuse, I was nervous and worried at first but after I met the team my confidence grew and I started to mix with other young people and go out fliering. I went to a couple of meetings and gave the team my ideas which they liked and took note of. Sarah helped me with my CV and we talked about the types of jobs I wanted.
At the start of 2016, I went out looking for jobs on my own, I had an interview and began working at a local deli! I spent 3 months there but did not like the late shift work. I had the confidence to look for other jobs and secured full time work at Flip Out.
I would like to thank Sarah and the Infuse team for helping me and making me feel part of something. I am very happy in my job and it has made a huge difference to my life. My anxiety has not been so much of a problem and I keep getting more and more confident.