Jake didn’t have an easy childhood. His mum has various long-term health issues and Jake is the older of his three siblings. He’s there every step of the way: taking care of mum and his siblings. Growing up, Jake’s had to witness numerous times domestic violence against his mum. When we first met him at 17, it was clear that his trauma has made it difficult for Jake to manage his own anger, and he turned to drugs way too often.

Hetty, Jake’s youth worker, first talked to him and his mum about Jake’s goals: Jake wanted to get a job and find better coping mechanisms for his anger.

“It was cool meeting Hetty, she’s so smart and knows a lot of stuff. She helped me write a CV, we looked over example cover letters together and then I was able to write my own.

Hetty helped me realise what I wanted to do in life. She listened to my interests, and we talked through how I could go about getting a qualification in security, which I’ll definitely do at some point, and now I know how.

I trust Hetty, so I talked to her about smoking weed, and that sometimes my mum gets upset that I smoke too much. Hetty’s told me about Bristol Drugs Project and now I get to chat to youth workers from there about it, and get support.

Hetty knows I’ve got a problem with my anger, so it was good to talk about what I can do about it. I’ve really enjoyed boxing in the past, so she’s arranged it so I can go to Empire Fighting Chance and do regular boxing sessions. These really calm me down, I feel so much better after.

With my CV and cover letter, I managed to get a job at Ocado, which is good for now. But what I’m most grateful for is that Hetty’s helped me see I’ve got other options ahead of me, and that further education can really be for me.”

Jake had a successful interview at Ocado doing daytime shifts at a warehouse. Hetty helped him understand his contract and get settled into work.

It really does take a village to raise a child – Jake’s continuing to get help with his cannabis use from BDP, and boxing with Empire Fighting Chance is keeping his anger under control. We regularly signpost young people to specialist partner organisations, and together, we provide the bespoke support that each young person needs.

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