The following is a Good News article written by Eloise Lewis, one of our school-based youth workers, about a young person who faced many difficulties in his life. He was supported to overcome these difficulties by a number of youth service workers, and his story demonstrates the breadth of support available from youth workers in Pembrokeshire.
James* (this young person's name has been changed to protect his identity) is 17 years old and from Milford Haven. He has been working with the Youth Service since the age of 13 when his disengagement in school resulted in a high rate of exclusions.
James took part in the "I'm well chuffed with that" project, which involved working with his school-based youth worker and the National Trust. He attended a 3-day residential in Cardiff based on healthy living, and he climbed Pen y Fan in the snow and really cold temperatures. James also helped with revamping Milford Haven School youth room in order to make it more young person friendly, and got involved with the Mount Woods project, where the young people cleared away areas for the community to appreciate their surroundings.
Working with his school-based youth worker Ell Lewis, James also took part in fund-raising for PATCH and did multiple beach and park cleans to make his area a cleaner environment. James completed a Level 2 PSD qualification, successfully overcoming a number of difficulties, which included being moved from mainstream school to MAP, having various learning difficulties such as ASD, a hectic and negative home life and being extremely vulnerable. Despite all of this, he managed it.
James eventually moved to a foster care placement during Year 11, and continued to work with a variety of services. Throughout this transition period, James worked with a large number of youth service staff, including as Monica Trem, Mia Nowers, Ell Lewis, Dave Barnes, Jonathan Williams and Chris Powles. James has also had a PA, an advocate, a TAF worker and multiple social workers as he was also open to the disability team.
After leaving school, James has successfully completed a range of work placements such as Paul Sartori, Greenacres, SPOTT and Showboat T V. He has also completed an Engagement course at PRP Training, with a range of work taster options on offer, and has recently progressed on to complete Level 1 Employability. Whilst engaging in this provision with PRP, James has kept in touch with his school-based youth worker Ell Lewis.
This year, James has been supported by youth workers to gain the self-confidence to apply to Pembrokeshire College. He says this is "something which I thought would never happen to a lad like me." Working with Ell Lewis, James completed an application in September and James has now informed us that his application for Marine Engineering has been accepted.
James has recently taken part in the "We wear the shame shirt" project, which is about increasing awareness of mental health through participation in football. As well as this, his current work placement Showboat T V have offered to keep him on full-time if he chose to.
James has now been with his foster placement a year and says that he is extremely grateful for all the help and support everyone has given him, despite the large amount of barriers he has faced.