#Focus5 key worker Grace reflects on the amazing progress one young lady has made from being unable to leave the house, to getting into employment and enrolling in online courses.
When this young lady joined the project she couldn't leave the house except to attend CAMHS meetings because her mental health was in a difficult state. She had not attended school for a long time, she had little or no social life and was very isolated. We initially worked on looking at future goals in terms of what she wanted to get out of education and a career and her #Focus5 key worker managed to get her out of the house for short outings together, just the two of them.
We discussed online courses and she was keen to join Interhigh, an online school funded by the local authority to do her GCSEs, and at the same time her medication for anxiety was reviewed and she began to feel more stable. She and her key worker then created various versions of her CV and started researching work opportunities together. To reduce her isolation, her key worker encouraged her to get back in touch with some of her old friends from school after she spent a long time opening up about wanting to regain those relationships.
With the support of her key worker, she then went on to successfully apply for some jobs and was offered two interviews from these applications. She was offered a temporary job at Tesco, which she did really well in and felt confident enough to ask the manager if she could change departments after she found the physical demands of certain aspects of the work too much. She moved to the Bakery department and then trained and worked on checkouts, something she was not keen on at all before getting the job, but managed really well as her confidence grew.
She has now completed the first year of Interhigh and is moving into the second year. More importantly she is regularly socialising with her friends and even went out to a club for the first time. She recently travelled on the bus from her town to another, spent the morning shopping, came back and travelled on another bus to another different town to get coffee and a toastie from a cafe, totally on her own! She even has aspirations to go travelling on her own in the future.
This is a perfect example of how projects like #Focus5 and the tailored support provided by our key workers can really turn a young person's situation around. Often they just need a neutral, objective and experienced mentor to help them recognise their own strengths, build confidence and put ideas into action. This young person has achieved so much in such a short time and her #Focus5 key worker is extremely proud of her progress.