As a young person leaves the #Focus5 project after a year of working closely with his key worker, we reflect on all the small successes he has achieved.
This is a story about perseverance and the importance of celebrating the hidden personal successes we often come across on the #Focus5 project.
A young man was referred to #Focus5 a year ago under the care of our Plymouth key worker Paul. Despite being incredibly bright and very academic, he had been out of school for a couple of years as a result of anxiety, and when Paul first met him he was introverted and not accepting of strangers. Meetings were postponed three times before they finally met but they both persevered and Paul took a slow and considerate approach to supporting him.
After a while the young man learnt to trust Paul and the two developed a relationship based on mutual respect and some in depth conversations about astronomy and history! Paul indulged in these interests by taking him to visit the planetarium in Plymouth, local castles and historical venues.
The mentoring relationship that developed between them led to the young person applying for adult GCSE’s at Plymouth College, with Paul's encouragement. Sadly when it came to starting college, he became overwhelmed and anxious and was unable to continue. They both feel this was a result of being out of education for so long, and that the college environment was just not right. The young man’s confidence took a major knock thereafter and Paul went back to the drawing board.
Despite the difficulties he has faced returning to formal education, he has told Paul he feels he is in a much better and more positive position thanks to the relationship they have developed and the support and advice he has received from #Focus5.
Paul has since arranged counselling for him locally so that he can talk regularly with people about his problems and aspirations. He has also spent time researching possible online courses in astronomy and history for the future. This young man has so much potential but needs an educational outlet very different to the traditional mainstream provision.
Their last working day together was spent out in the beautiful Devon countryside walking and talking about the fact that Paul wouldn’t be visiting any longer. Paul says he has learned a lot from this young person as he does from all the young people he works with. His feelings were matched by the young man who says he has ‘come on leaps and bounds’ through his involvement in #Focus5.
Many of the young people we help achieve success in different ways, some tangible and others more hidden and personal. Sometimes it doesn't matter how hard a young person tries and how much they long to engage, mental health and personal circumstances prevent them from doing so.
We wish this young lad the very best for his future and hope his interests will eventually lead him into a fulfilling career when the time is right!