Below is a Case Study, written by one of our Youth Workers involved in Projects4Change, demonstrating how much Youth Work means to them and the positive, long-lasting influence it can have on people’s lives:
Josh (16 yrs) was our first Change Maker Volunteer, his ideas helped us to create the programme. Josh’s mother was worried about him, he had spent his school life in trouble, he was bullied at 13 for being overweight and was then diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia.
Now aged 16 he was trying really hard to make a change in his life, however he couldn’t persuade the teachers to give him a fair hearing, he still had trouble concentrating and struggled to complete work. The messages he got from school were, “you’re not going anywhere in life”.
He was worried, he came to me and said, “I just want to help people, what can I do with my life?” His mum said he would sit with an elderly lady regularly because she was lonely, he told me he didn’t blame the kids who bullied him, as they didn’t know the harm they did and anyway they’re alright, he explained that he had made friends with them since.
To me Josh seemed a very resilient, caring and resourceful lad but all he was hearing were negative comments about what he wasn’t and what he couldn’t do. I advised Josh to take a level 2 childcare course and explained how you can make a career out of helping people. I told him that volunteering can help towards creating a CV and getting into employment and maybe also help with university applications. He is going to do NCS this year and see if he likes a youth work setting, he is keen to pursue working with others, maybe he is a future youth worker in the making.
When we first came to Cowgate one of the first young people we met was Les out on detached, he spoke very passionately about the area. We continued to work with Les and his sisters and cousins as part of the “We are Family” group, Les helped the group raise funds for community events like the Halloween and Christmas party’s in 2019. Shortly before we met Les his Dad had passed away, les was devastated and was grieving, he was unable to pull himself around and this led to him losing his job, later that year he was also made homeless.
We took Les along to register as homeless but he was reluctant to except the only help that was on offer, he did not want to go into emergency accommodation as he had a bad experienced before, despite our best efforts Les ended up sleeping rough. After a few nights walking the local streets and sleeping in the inside the doorway of a local high-rise flats he was taken is by a friend and slept on the sofa then there were many other friends’ sofas and floors. During this time Les was volunteering with us, helping at our allotment and supporting the group work.
We looked for opportunities to help Les and finally we came across a yearlong residential course at The School of Adventure Leadership in Scotland (https://abernethy.org.uk/leadership/). This would offer the support and accommodation Les needed as well as provide him with the skills and qualifications to progress. We have raised nearly £3,000 towards his yearlong tuition and still must raise £5,000 more.
Les started the course in September 2020 and we are loving the photos and progress reports, Projects4Change together with our partner organisation The Patchwork Project are keen to see Les complete the course and come back qualified and able to work within the West of Newcastle to inspire local young people to go outdoors.