Sarah, aged 17, had become terrified of leaving the house after a bad experience experimenting with drugs. Prior to this, she’d had a tough time, struggling with turbulent home life and bouncing between schools due to her behaviour.


When I met Sarah, she was already on her journey to recovery but needed some support to take those final steps back into education or employment. As she’d been accessing mental health support through Vitaminds, Sarah had the tools she needed to conquer her anxiety, she just needed some help


Through regular video calls, we worked on building a relationship where Sarah felt comfortable talking about her aspirations. Sarah was so impressed with all the support she’d received as a young person going through a difficult time that she wanted to find a career where she could help others, perhaps even one day qualifying as a counsellor.


As Sarah had missed out on her GCSEs and would need these for further study, we talked about options for studying Functional Skills Maths and English. Due to negative experiences at school, college was not an option for her, but luckily together we were able to explore lots of other options for gaining these qualifications.


We spoke weekly and Sarah continued to work on her anxiety, challenging herself in various ways like going to the shop with a family member. She soon felt ready to meet at the CYN offices. She started socialising with friends again and noticed how much she had grown up over the past few years. We talked about how things had changed since she last saw her friends and I supported Sarah to maintain her boundaries in difficult social situations.


In sessions, we looked at some of the Princes Trust programmes and other short courses that Sarah might feel comfortable taking on, eventually settling on an online course in Mental Health. This course offered Functional Skills alongside lots of useful modules for working in a mental health setting. We accessed a laptop from Bristol City Council so Sarah could work on her course at home, but she soon felt confident enough to attend in person.


Going from strength to strength, Sarah did so brilliantly at overcoming her barriers, by the time she finished working with CYN, she was being offered a role as an SEN teaching assistant.  We’re really proud of the work Sarah has managed to achieve in such a short time and wish her all the best in her new career. 


Support offered by West of England Worksan exciting partnership which aims to help unemployed and economically inactive people in the West of England find employment. The project is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund.

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