Overcoming multiple barriers

“J” was referred to the #Focus5 project by his school due to random and poor attendance. Our key worker started by speaking with J’s mother and she could instantly see that this was a lovely family. J’s mum had separated from his father and they were living with her new partner and his children.

In October 2019 J’s biological father was found dead and whilst J did not have as much contact with his dad as he would have liked he still looked up to him and loved him unconditionally. Our young person found himself dealing with such difficult grief at only 15. Before this he was doing well at school, which is no surprise as J is academically bright. However, he became withdrawn and very anxious. The school managed to secure some counselling for J but he would not attend. He felt he could not function in the morning as he was not sleeping; he could not get his head ready until after midday. J’s key worker tried to get him an afternoon counselling session but regretfully this did not happen.

J’s key worker put him through his CSCS to get him geared up for a construction job. J was already showing his commitment to the process as he would travel great distances to do the training and even more impressively, he would do this independently. This is a huge achievement for someone so anxious he would lock himself away.

It was during this time that J really started to flourish, however, J did hit a barrier in the process. He could not sit his test as he did not have a National Insurance number. J’s key worker managed to resolve this with DWP; however, J was still not attending his counselling or school. To help with this J’s key worker got him a webcam for his classroom, which meant he could attend classes remotely. This was a massive victory and J loved the thought of being able to attend classes remotely. Just as everything started look like it was going well, J hit another barrier. The Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world and the country went into lockdown. J was devasted as it felt like all his hard-earned progress was in real jeopardy. To make matters worse our key worker was unable to meet J and whilst they stayed in touch J fell back into a deep depression.

It was at this point that J really needed something to turn his situation around. He soon learned that his GCSE results will be based on his mock exams and that gave him the lift he needed. J’s key worker knew this was an opportune moment to strike and brought up the conversation about college. J loves to learn, and he really needed this boost as he had encountered so many setbacks on his journey. J got accepted for Brick Laying Level 1 course and started applying for lots of jobs as well. He is now working at a leisure park for the summer with college in September and he is loving life. J really has turned his life around and is moving into a new, much brighter chapter.