Young Person’s Statement
“In 2015 I was in a very unhealthy relationship that led me to self harm, do drugs and alcohol. The youth centre was not only my safe place to go when I needed help, but they also helped and supported me with professional help in order for me to recover. I now no longer have any of those unhealthy coping methods and will be forever grateful to the youth centre”

Youth Worker’s Statement (abridged)
Lucy’s story is a very long and complicated journey. When she first attended the Youth Centre she had an older partner and circle of peers that she would be influenced by heavily, often self-harming, taking drugs and alcohol and sleeping with older people. Lucy was aware that this behaviour wasn’t the greatest, however felt it was what she deserved and felt comfortable doing. Lucy made a strong bond with one of the Youth Workers who was able to start unpicking what was happening with her. At the start this had little or no impact – with Lucy’s understanding of the situation quite skewed. In order to build the relationship, the Youth Workers started to invite Lucy in away from the sessions for informal chats without her friends or boyfriend. She was initially a bit suspicious of this, until one time when she had cut herself too bad she came to the youth centre for help. Rather than being judgemental, the Youth Workers patched her up, gave her something to eat and talked about other subjects. I think this may have been the start of a turning point for Lucy. She then recognised that we weren’t angry, cross or upset, which had been the reaction from a lot of family members, but were there to be on her team.

Over the time that Lucy was in this situation a lot went on including several MASH referrals, work with CAMHS, REACH (CSE Team) and the school, but Lucy would only talk to the Youth Workers, coming to the Centre when she was low or worried. Although Lucy was now away from her partner sometimes quite serious arguments would come into the Youth Centre during sessions with Lucy threatening or being the victim of threats from other young people that had been caught up in the same situation. This was dealt with by Youth Workers directly and fairly, with Lucy seeing that we would protect and support all the young people that needed it. Lucy’s parents recognised that the Youth Workers had a positive impact on her and supported the, what must have seemed, fragmented process often asking for advice or using us as advocates. After what must have felt a long time for the parents, Lucy started to recognise that she had been groomed and manipulated and used the Youth Workers once again to unpick this further.  Eventually Lucy moved schools and area to live with her dad. She completed her GCSE’s and learnt to drive and after 6 months away has come back to volunteer within the Junior Sessions a much happier young person with a lot of skills to offer.